Duration of untreated illness in schizophrenia is not associated with 5-year brain volume change

Geartsje Boonstra*, Wiepke Cahn, Hugo G. Schnack, Hilleke E. Hulshoff Pol, Tanca C. Minderhoud, René S. Kahn, Neeltje E.M. van Haren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Evidence for an association between duration of untreated illness (DUI) with clinical and functional outcome or brain volume (change) in schizophrenia patients is inconclusive. We aimed to investigate the relationship between DUI, outcome and brain volume at illness onset or brain volume change during the first five years of the illness in first-episode patients. Methods: Magnetic resonance images were acquired at baseline (T0) and after 5-year (T5) of 57 schizophrenia patients. Correlations were calculated in patients between brain volume (change), DUI and outcome variables. Results: We found no significant correlation between DUI and brain volume (change) in schizophrenia patients. A longer DUI was significantly correlated with higher PANSS scores at T0 and T5, and with higher scores on the Camberwell Assessment of Need scale at T5. Baseline volume of the cerebrum and lateral ventricles, and cerebellum volume (change) were associated with PANSS scores at T0 and T5. Conclusion: Although clinical outcome is associated with both brain volume (change) and DUI, we found no evidence for a relationship between DUI and brain volume (change). DUI and baseline brain volume or 5-year brain volume (change) seem to explain different parts of the variation in clinical outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-90
Number of pages7
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was partly funded by the Dutch Research Organization NWO-CZ ( 940-33-015 ). This organization had no participation in the collection, interpretation and reporting process of the data presented in this paper.


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