Scientists used MRI images to study brain activity and reached an interesting conclusion: the brain can repair itself. The results may lead to new treatments for mental illnesses and even for schizophrenia.
The study involved a group of 98 patients with schizophrenia and another group of 83 persons that did not have the affection. Both groups were scanned through an MRI machine so that scientists would later compare their brain tissue and structure.
The results of the study show that it may be possible for the schizophrenic brain to try to reorganize itself. Even in the cases of severe tissue damage, brain seemed to take actions so as to repair the affected areas.
Scientists have high hopes surrounding this study because the strict methodology that was used removed any risk of insubstantiality.
It was long proved that brain can selectively activate different areas, and it can transfer functions from an affected region to one that is healthy.
But this new study goes even further in affirming that brains can try to reconnect and to repair the areas affected by schizophrenia and dementia – which means that the cognitive decay may not be irreversible.
“Brain plasticity and the development of related therapies would contribute to a new optimism in an illness that was 100 years ago described as premature dementia for its seemingly progressive deterioration,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reiss, Psychiatrist.
Scientists hope to find new cures that will stop the progression and help patients to recover their lost cognitive functions and abilities.
Treatment so far was able just to slow down the advancing of schizophrenia and to reduce the secondary effects of the brain damage.
Nonetheless, the present study showed that the reduction of brain tissue in some areas is complemented by a simultaneous increase in tissue in other sectors.
To scientifically prove these modifications, researchers used a statistical method called covariance analysis. The method permitted researchers to track the changes in brain tissue and to analyze its variations.
The importance of the study lies in the fact that schizophrenia was believed to be an incurable disease. The decaying process was irreversible, and the results of the tissue decay had devastating effects on the life quality of the patient and the ones of its caretakers.
Scientists want to go further in studying this brain regenerating process. A future experiment will involve monitoring the MRI images of patients with early schizophrenia, and researchers hope to find more on the brain’s self-reparatory reaction.
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