The researchers, from the UK and China, have found proof showing the ability of the brain to repair themselves and fight off the mental illness.
For the study, the researchers followed 98 patients with schizophrenia and 83 without. They used MRI technology and a special method called "covariance analysis," to distinguish the increase of brain tissue. The discovery is significant because it is first time such a method has been used to prove the ability of the brain to reverse the effects of this disease. It could also open doors to possible cures.
"Even the state-of-art frontline treatments aim merely for a reduction rather than a reversal of the cognitive and functional deficits caused by the illness," said research team member Dr. Lena Palaniyappan, Medical Director at the Prevention & Early Intervention Program for Psychoses at London Science Centre.
"Our results highlight that despite the severity of tissue damage, the brain of a patient with schizophrenia is constantly attempting to reorganize itself, possibly to rescue itself or limit the damage," Palaniyappan said.
"These findings are important not only because of their novelty and the rigor of the study, but because they point the way to the development of targeted treatments that potentially could better address some of the core pathology in schizophrenia," explains Dr. Jeffrey Reiss, another member of the research team from the London health Sciences Centre.
"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," he added.