Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Structural brain changes in first episode Schizophrenia compared with Fronto-Temporal Lobar Degeneration: a meta-analysis

Bayanne Olabi1*, Ian Ellison-Wright2, Ed Bullmore34 and Stephen M Lawrie1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Psychiatry, School of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Edinburgh, EH10 5HF, UK

2 Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, Salisbury, UK

3 Department of Psychiatry, Behavioral & Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

4 Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Psychiatry 2012, 12:104  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-104

Published: 7 August 2012



The authors sought to compare gray matter changes in First Episode Schizophrenia (FES) compared with Fronto-Temporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) using meta-analytic methods applied to neuro-imaging studies.


A systematic search was conducted for published, structural voxel-based morphometric MRI studies in patients with FES or FTLD. Data were combined using anatomical likelihood estimation (ALE) to determine the extent of gray matter decreases and analysed to ascertain the degree of overlap in the spatial distribution of brain changes in both diseases.


Data were extracted from 18 FES studies (including a total of 555 patients and 621 comparison subjects) and 20 studies of FTLD or related disorders (including a total of 311 patients and 431 comparison subjects). The similarity in spatial overlap of brain changes in the two disorders was significant (pā€‰=ā€‰0.001). Gray matter deficits common to both disorders included bilateral caudate, left insula and bilateral uncus regions.


There is a significant overlap in the distribution of structural brain changes in First Episode Schizophrenia and Fronto-Temporal Lobar Degeneration. This may reflect overlapping aetiologies, or a common vulnerability of these regions to the distinct aetio-pathological processes in the two disorders.

Schizophrenia/pathology; FTLD/pathology; Meta-analysis; Magnetic resonance imaging/methods; Humans; Brain/pathology; Brain mapping; Imaging processing; Computer-Assisted/methods