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Neuropathology 

Neuropathology
Chapter:
Neuropathology
Author(s):

Peter Falkai

and Bernhard Bogerts

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199696758.003.0022
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date: 23 November 2017

The traditional domains of neuropathology are well-defined organic brain diseases with an obvious pathology, such as tumours, infections, vascular diseases, trauma, or toxic and hypoxemic changes, as well as degenerative brain diseases (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's chorea). Neuropathological investigations of these brain disorders have been rewarding, because patients with any of these conditions can be expected to have gross morphological or more or less specific neurohistological anomalies related to the clinical symptoms of the disorders. Moreover, the type of brain pathology of these well-defined disease entities is quite homogenous. For example, it is highly unlikely that a patient with Parkinson's disease would not exhibit morphological changes and Lewy bodies in the nigrostriatal system, just as much a person with Huntington's chorea would have a normal striatum, or a patient with Pick'sor Alzheimer's disease would have no changes in the cerebralcortex. In contrast, the history of the neuropathology of psychiatric disorders outside primary degenerative diseases is much more controversial, because no such obvious and homogenous types of brain pathology (as seen in neurological disorders) have yet been detected for the major psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia, affective disorders, substance-related disorders, or personality disorders. The scope of this chapter is to summarize the neuropathological findings in schizophrenia, affective disorders, and alcoholism. Tables 2.3.5.1, 2.3.5.2, 2.3.5.3, and 2.3.5.4 highlight the significant findings. It goes beyond the scope of this chapter to review thelarge body of literature on the dementias, including specifically Alzheimer's disease. Concerning this matter, the reader is referred to several comprehensive reviews (e.g. Jellinger and Bancher 1998).

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