This study investigated the relationship between cortisol secretion and hippocampal volume in first-episode psychosis and healthy controls. Hippocampal volume was measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 24 first-episode psychosis patients and in 18 healthy controls, together with diurnal cortisol levels. Twelve patients received a second MRI scan at 3-month follow-up. Diurnal cortisol levels were inversely correlated with left hippocampal volume in patients, both at baseline and at follow-up, while no correlation was found in controls. Our findings suggest that smaller hippocampal volume in first-episode psychosis can partly be explained by stress-related processes in the brain, as measured by cortisol hyper-secretion. ?? 2009 Elsevier B.V.
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