Updated meta-analyses reveal thalamus volume reduction in patients with first-episode and chronic schizophrenia

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Objectives: Although several structural MRI studies report significant thalamus volume reduction in patients with schizophrenia, many other studies do not. Therefore, the present meta-analyses aimed to clarify whether a reduction in thalamic volume characterizes patients diagnosed with schizophrenia by considering first-episode and chronic phases of the illness and right and left thalamus separately. Methods: Using Pubmed databases, we made a detailed literature search for structural MRI studies on patients with schizophrenia that reported physical volumetric measures of the right and left thalamus. Thirteen structural MRI studies were considered eligible for meta-analysis of the entire sample of patients and of the healthy control subjects. Individual meta-analyses were also performed on 6 studies of first-episode patients only and on 7 studies of chronic patients only. These were followed by additional meta-analyses to investigate the role of the factors "illness phase" and "side" on thalamic volume reduction. Results: Overall, the patient group showed a significant bilateral thalamus volume reduction compared to healthy control subjects. This was found in both first-episode and chronic patients. Furthermore, left thalamus was smaller than right in both patients and healthy control subjects. Conclusions: When only studies that used physical volumetric measures were considered, the present meta-analyses confirmed that thalamic volume reduction characterizes patients with schizophrenia, both at the first-episode and chronic phases of the illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Meta-analysis
  • Physical measures
  • Schizophrenia
  • Structural MRI
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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