New Studies Point the Way to a Better Understanding of Scizophrenia

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Several new studies are helping us to understand that people with schizophrenia have definitive neurologic deficits which contribute to processing problems and create the array of symptoms that are associated with the disease. Gur, et all in a study published in American Journal of Psychiatry (March, 2007) found that cortical areas needed for attention showed diminished activation and that areas associated with "filtering" also showed deficits. Garrity, et al, American Journal of Psychiatry (March 2007) looked at the frontal, cingulate and parahippocampal cortices in individuals with schizophrenia and found that these people have difficulty in settling their brain activity into an "idle" mode. Ferrarelli, et al, American Journal of Psychiatry (March 2007) examined the area of the brain responsible for generating sleep and found that individuals with schizophrenia showed hypoactivity in the thalamic reticular nucleus. Ford, et al, American Journal of Psychiatry (March 2007) used auditory evoked potentials to study the process of preparing for speech. Individuals with schizophrenia had poor inhibition of certain cortical areas. Shergill, et all also in American Journal of Psychiatry (March, 2007) studied the integrity of the myelin pathway connecting the Broca and Wernicke areas which control motor speech and receptive speech. Some of the individuals in the study had an abnormal myelin pathway. Leitman, et al, in the American Journal of Psychiatry (March 2007) found that individuals with schizophrenia had difficulty in using tone of voice to recognize emotion and to determine if a statement was a sentence or a question.These difficulties were associated with connections to the auditory cortex. Studies like these help us to understand that schizophrenia is a complex neurologic syndrome with many potential variants, symptoms and brain based behaviors.

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