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The nature of abnormalities of cerebral structure evident in schizophrenia on magnetic resonance imaging is considered in relation to the neurodevelopmental hypothesis of the disorder. While schizophrenic patients showed increased ventricular volume, the extent of increase with age was comparable with that evident in controls and was unrelated to duration of illness. Conversely, cortical atrophy was evident only in patients, and this increased markedly with age and duration of illness. Such findings could be suggestive of two distinct pathophysiological processes in schizophrenia, but a schema for their reconciliation with the neurodevelopmental hypothesis is elaborated.