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Long-term antipsychotic treatment and brain volumes: a longitudinal study of first-episode schizophrenia Dr. Beng-Choon Ho

Progressive brain volume changes in schizophrenia are thought to be due principally to the disease. However, recent animal studies indicate that antipsychotics, the mainstay of treatment for schizophrenia patients, may also contribute to brain tissue volume decrement. Because antipsychotics are prescribed for long periods for schizophrenia patients and have increasingly widespread use in other psychiatric disorders, it is imperative to determine their long-term effects on the human brain.

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How Antipsychotics Work From Receptor to Reality Shitij Kapur

How does a small molecule blocking a few receptors change a patients’ passionately held paranoid belief that the FBI is out to get him? Normal dopamine transmission has a role in predicting novel rewards and in marking and responding to motivationally salient stimuli. Abnormal dopamine transmission alters these processes and results in an aberrant sense of novelty and inappropriate assignment of salience leading to the experience of psychosis. Antipsychotics improve psychosis by diminishing this abnormal transmission by blocking the dopamine D2/3 receptor (not D1 or D4), and although several brain regions may be involved, it is suggested that the ventral striatal regions (analog of the nucleus accumbens in animals) may have a particularly critical role.

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