4 March 2013. The brains of men with schizotypal personality disorder, which some researchers consider a mild form of schizophrenia, are pockmarked with areas that are smaller than usual, reports a study published online February 6 in JAMA Psychiatry. Led by Robert McCarley of Harvard Medical School, the brain imaging study implicates a widespread collection of regions in schizotypal personality disorder, ranging from executive centers that control things like attention, to pathways that carry basic information about sight, sound, or touch.
The same regions may also be involved in the more severe illness of schizophrenia. While people with schizotypal personality disorder share symptoms with those with schizophrenia, like social awkwardness or odd beliefs, they never lose touch with reality. They generally work and live independently, and they do not take medication. This means brain changes found in SPD are likely related to schizophrenia-like symptoms, rather than to a lifestyle complicated by illness. (For more details on this study, see SRF related news story.)—Michele Solis.