Smaller middle temporal gyri are linked to the genetic liability of schizophrenia. They may also be associated with reduced facial memory in those at genetic risk for the illness, according to a study involving 75 individuals.
Investigators included 27 non-psychotic, first-degree relatives of schizophrenia patients between the ages of 13 and 28 , and 48 matching healthy controls. Participants underwent MRI, and the lateral temporal cortex was divided into superior temporal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus, inferior temporal gyrus, and temporal pole.
Relatives had significantly smaller bilateral middle temporal gyri vs controls. Additionally, in relatives, the right middle temporal gyral volume showed a significant positive association with delayed facial memory.
The authors concluded that children at risk for schizophrenia based on family history can have cortical and subcortical structural brain irregularities well before onset of illness.
Citation: Brent B, Rosso I, Thermenos H, et al. Alterations of lateral temporal cortical gray matter and facial memory as vulnerability indicators for schizophrenia: An MRI study in youth at familial high-risk for schizophrenia. [Published online ahead of print November 24, 2015] Schizophr Res. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2015.11.013.