James Levitt, M.D.

LevittProfileAssociate Professor

Tel: 508-583-4500 x61798 (Brockton)
Email: james_levitt@hms.harvard.edu

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Jim is studying subcortical structures in schizophrenia. Using MRI, he measures basal ganglia structures volumetrically, and using a novel method – complementary to volumetric measures, assesses the shape of the caudate nucleus. The basal ganglia are believed to play a role in higher cognitive functions mediated through frontal-basal ganglia circuits. The study of this area permits Jim to combine his research interests (neuroimaging in the anatomy of schizophrenia) with his long-standing clinical interest in psychopharmacology, as this brain area is a major site where antipsychotic medications are believed to work. Conventional neuroleptic medications appear to increase basal ganglia volume, as measured by MRI, and clozapine may reverse this effect. In a recent abstract, he has reported that the caudate nucleus volume is decreased in a sample of neuroleptic naive, male, schizotypal personality disorder subjects.

Jim’s future plans are to continue his research in neuroanatomical abnormalities in schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder using MRI tools including volume and shape techniques. Furthermore, he plans to study their clinical correlates, with an emphasis on enduring traits such as premorbid adjustment and cognition.

Clinically, Jim is Director of Psychopharmacology in the Neurocience Lab of Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Mental Hygiene Clinic at the Brockton VA Medical Center, Co-Director of Ambulatory Mental Health Services at the Brockton VA Medical Center, Director of Residency Psychopharmacology Training and Education at the Harvard South Shore Psychiatry Residency Training Program at the Brockton VA Medical Center, and Director of Outpatient Neuropsychopharmacology. Jim has been with the PNL ever since its inception.