Functional brain imaging in schizophrenia: selected results and methods.
ABSTRACT Functional brain imaging studies of patients with schizophrenia may be grouped into those that assume that the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are due to disordered circuitry within a critical brain region and studies that assume that the signs and symptoms are due to disordered connections among brain regions. Studies have investigated the disordered functional brain anatomy of both the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Studies of spontaneous hallucinations find that although hallucinations are associated with abnormal brain activity in primary and secondary sensory areas, disordered brain activation associated with hallucinations is not limited to sensory systems. Disordered activation in non-sensory regions appear to contribute to the emotional strength and valence of hallucinations, to be a factor underlying an inability to distinguish ongoing mental processing from memories, and to reflect the brain's attempt to modulate the intensity of hallucinations and resolve conflicts with other processing demands. Brain activation studies support the view that auditory/verbal hallucinations are associated with an impaired ability of internal speech plans to modulate neural activation in sensory language areas. In early studies, negative symptoms of schizophrenia were hypothesized to be associated with impaired function in frontal brain areas. In support of this hypothesis meta-analytical studies have found that resting blood flow or metabolism in frontal cortex is reduced in schizophrenia, though the magnitude of the effect is only small to moderate. Brain activation studies of working memory (WM) functioning are typically associated with large effect sizes in the frontal cortex, whereas studies of functions other than WM generally reveal smaller effects. Findings from some functional connectivity studies have supported the hypothesis that schizophrenia patients experience impaired functional connections between frontal and temporal cortex, although the nature of the disordered connectivity is complex. More recent studies have used functional brain imaging to study neural compensation in schizophrenia, to serve as endophenotypes in genetic studies and to provide biomarkers in drug development studies. These emerging trends in functional brain imaging research are likely to help stimulate the development of a general neurobiological theory of the complex symptoms of schizophrenia.
- South African Journal of Psychiatry 10/2014; 20(4):146. DOI:10.7196/sajp.574 · 0.52 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The default mode network (DMN) has been identified to play a critical role in many mental disorders, but such abnormalities have not yet been determined in patients with schizotypal personality disorder (SPD). The purpose of this study was to analyze the alteration of the DMN functional connectivity in subjects with (SPD) and compared it to healthy control subjects. Eighteen DSM-IV diagnosed SPD subjects (all male, average age: 19.7 ± 0.9) from a pool of 3000 first year college students, and eighteen age and gender matched healthy control subjects were recruited (all male, average age: 20.3 ± 0.9). Independent component analysis (ICA) was used to analyze the DMN functional connectivity alteration. Compared to the healthy control group, SPD subjects had significantly decreased functional connectivity in the frontal areas, including the superior and medial frontal gyrus, and greater functional connectivity in the bilateral superior temporal gyrus and sub-lobar regions, including the bilateral putamen and caudate. Compared to subjects with SPD, the healthy control group showed decreased functional connectivity in the bilateral posterior cingulate gyrus, but showed greater functional connectivity in the right transverse temporal gyrus and left middle temporal gyrus. The healthy control group also showed greater activation in the cerebellum compared to the SPD group. These findings suggest that DMN functional connectivity, particularly that involving cognitive or emotional regulation, is altered in SPD subjects, and thus may be helpful in studying schizophrenia.Schizophrenia Research 11/2014; 160(1-3). DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2014.10.013 · 4.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Anatomical deficits and resting-state functional connectivity (FC) alterations in prefrontal-thalamic-cerebellar circuit have been implicated in the neurobiology of schizophrenia. However, the effect of structural deficits in schizophrenia on causal connectivity of this circuit remains unclear. This study was conducted to examine the causal connectivity biased by structural deficits in first-episode, drug-naive schizophrenia patients. Structural and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were obtained from 49 first-episode, drug-naive schizophrenia patients and 50 healthy controls. Data were analyzed by voxel-based morphometry and Granger causality analysis. The causal connectivity of the integrated prefrontal-thalamic (limbic)-cerebellar (sensorimotor) circuit was partly affected by structural deficits in first-episode, drug-naive schizophrenia as follows: (1) unilateral prefrontal-sensorimotor connectivity abnormalities (increased driving effect from the left medial prefrontal cortex [MPFC] to the sensorimotor regions); (2) bilateral limbic-sensorimotor connectivity abnormalities (increased driving effect from the right anterior cingulate cortex [ACC] to the sensorimotor regions and decreased feedback from the sensorimotor regions to the right ACC); and (3) bilateral increased and decreased causal connectivities among the sensorimotor regions. Some correlations between the gray matter volume of the seeds, along with their causal effects and clinical variables (duration of untreated psychosis and symptom severity), were also observed in the patients. The findings indicated the partial effects of structural deficits in first-episode, drug-naive schizophrenia on the prefrontal-thalamic (limbic)-cerebellar (sensorimotor) circuit. Schizophrenia may reinforce the driving connectivities from the left MPFC or right ACC to the sensorimotor regions and may disrupt bilateral causal connectivities among the sensorimotor regions.Schizophrenia Bulletin 08/2014; DOI:10.1093/schbul/sbu126 · 8.61 Impact Factor