Neurobiological hypotheses on the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.
aim Reviewing the main neurobiological hypotheses concerning the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.
method Literature review by means of searching Medline from 1994 till July 1999 and the references found in those articles.
results In literature three main directions of hypothesizing are recognized: neurodegeneration, a disorder limited to early brain development and a progressive neurodevelopmental disorder. The neurodegeneration hypothesis proves outdated; some significant facts make a good case against a limited early developmental disorder; and a progressive developmental disorder is in line with many clinical observations and data from research.
conclusion Strong evidence exists for a progressive developmental disorder in schizophrenia. This evidence may be taken as a reason for more research into the possibilities of early treatment of psychosis and treatment prior to the first psychotic episode.