Marie Bjerregaard Jensen defends her PhD thesis at the Department of Psychology


Marie Bjerregaard Jensen


"The relationship between cognition and white matter microstructure in initially antipsychotic-naïve schizophrenia patients".

Time and place

Friday, 5th July 2019, at 12:00

Auditorium C, Entrance 7, Rigshospitalet – Glostrup, Valdemar Hansens Vej 1-23, 2600 Glostrup.

Please note that the defense will start precisely at the announced time.

After the defence, CINS and Mental Health Centre Glostrup will be hosting a reception in the conference room of the research unit, Mental Health Centre Glostrup

Assessment committee

Tom Teasdale, chairperson, Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Professor, Neeltje van Haren, Department of Child and adolescent Psychiatry, Erasmus Medical Center, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Associate professor, Torill Ueland, at NORMENT, Oslo University Hospital and Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences​, ​University of Oslo


Schizophrenia is a severe disorder, characterized by cognitive deficits and impairments in cerebral white matter microstructure. Given the close connection between cognition and white matter, white matter microstructure may be essential in understanding the origin of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. The overall aim of the Ph.D.-project was 1) to examine group differences in the relationship between cognition and white matter microstructure at baseline and longitudinally in initially first-episode antipsychotic-naïve schizophrenia patients and healthy controls 2) to examine the influence of early versus late developing white matter regions on processing speed. The baseline results indicated a close connection between cognitive deficits and white matter impairments, where the overall cognitive abilities were characterized by a global contribution of white matter. White matter microstructure in both early and late developing regions was involved in processing speed. The longitudinal results showed a positive correlation between processing speed and FA, which over the 2-year follow-up period indicated a similar stability of the speed-FA relationship in patients and controls. Taken together, the findings indicate that impairment across several white matter regions underlying processing speed is evident already at illness onset.

Prior to the defence, a copy of the dissertation is available at the Library at Faculty of Social Sciences, Gothersgade 140, Copenhagen K.