Similarity Between Schizophrenia and Dementia Discovered for the First Time
Published in Artificial Intelligence, Brain/Neurology.
Summary: Study reveals striking similarities in both behaviors and neuroanatomical changes between people with schizophrenia and behavioral-variant frontotemporal dementia.
Source: Max Planck Institute
Researchers have, for the first time, compared schizophrenia and frontotemporal dementia—disorders that are both located in the frontal and temporal lobe regions of the brain.
The idea can be traced back to Emil Kraepelin, who coined the term “dementia praecox” in 1899 to describe the progressive mental and emotional decline of young patients. His approach was quickly challenged, as only 25% of those affected showed this form of disease progression.
But now, with the help of imaging and machine learning, scientists have found the first valid indications of neuroanatomical patterns in the brain that resemble the signature of patients with frontotemporal dementia.
It is rare that scientists in basic research go back to seemingly obsolete findings that are more than 120 years old. In the case of Nikolaos Koutsouleris and Matthias Schroeter, who are researchers and physicians, this was even a drive.
It´s about Emil Kraepelin, founder of the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry (MPI) as well as the psychiatric hospital of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU), and his term “dementia praecox,” coined in 1899.
This was his definition for young adults who increasingly withdraw from reality and fall into an irreversible, dementia-like state. Kraepelin lived to see his concept refuted.
By the beginning of the 20th century, experts were beginning to use the term “schizophrenia” for these patients, since the disease does not take such a bad course in all persons concerned.
Kraepelin had the idea of a frontotemporal disease, he assumed that the reason for the sometimes-debilitating course of the patients is located in the frontal and temporal lobe areas of the brain. That’s where personality, social behavior and empathy are controlled.