Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory, St. Vincent's Hospital, Richmond Road, Fairview, Dublin 3, Ireland; Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory Program in Cognitive Neuroscience and Schizophrenia Nathan S. Kline Institute, 140 Old Orangeburg Road, Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Schizophrenia is currently diagnosed on the basis of patient reports and clinical observations. A diagnosis based on aetiology is inherently more reliable due to being closer to the disease process than the overt clinical manifestations. Accordingly, recent research in schizophrenia has focused on the development of biomarkers in a bit to improve the reliability and neurobiological relevance of the diagnosis. Visual information processing is one of these promising fields of recent biomarker research. AREAS COVERED: This article provides an overview of the available literature regarding deficits in schizophrenia detectable through psychophysical (contrast and motion sensitivity, visual backward-masking), ERP (P1 and N1 visual evoked potentials) and oscillatory (signal power and phase-locking factor of evoked oscilations) measures and their validity as trait or state biomarkers of the disease. The methodology included a search on articles related to visual information processing in schizophrenia on the PubMed database. EXPERT OPINION: Biomarker research in schizophrenia is a rapidly expanding area. Evidence exists to suggest that both psychotic and manic symptoms are associated with visual processing abnormalities. A specific impairment confined to the magnocellular component of the visual system might be a trait biomarker of schizophrenia.
Expert Opinion on Medical Diagnostics 07/2011; 5(4):357-368.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antipsychotic drugs are the mainstay of treatment for schizophrenia but they have little effect on core negative symptoms or cognitive impairment. To meet the deficiencies of current treatments, novel potential compounds are emerging from preclinical research but translation to clinical success has been poor. This article evaluates the possibility that cognitive and physiological abnormalities in schizophrenia can be used as central nervous system biomarkers to predict, in healthy volunteers, the likely efficacy of entirely new pharmacological approaches to treatment. Early detection of efficacy would focus resource on rapidly developing, effective drugs. We review the relevance of selected cognitive and physiological abnormalities as biomarkers in schizophrenia and three of its surrogate populations: (i) healthy volunteers with high trait schizotypy; (ii) unaffected relatives of patients; and (iii) healthy volunteers in a state of cortical glutamate disinhibition induced by low-dose ketamine. Several biomarkers are abnormal in these groups and in some instances there has been exploratory work to determine their sensitivity to drug action. They are generally insensitive to current antipsychotics and therefore their predictive validity cannot be established until novel, therapeutically useful drugs are discovered. Until then such biomarker studies can provide evidence of drugs engaging with the mechanism of interest and encouragement of the concept.
Journal of Psychopharmacology 09/2011; 25(9):1207-25. · 3.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Core symptoms of schizophrenia, particularly in the cognitive domain are hypothesized to be due to an abnormality in neural connectivity. Biomarkers of connectivity may therefore be a promising tool in exploring the aetiology of schizophrenia. We used electrophysiological methods to demonstrate abnormal visual information processing during in patients performing a simple cognitive task.
Electrophysiological recordings were acquired from 20 chronically ill, medicated patients diagnosed with either schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorder and 20 healthy volunteers while they conducted a working memory (WM) task.
The patient group had significantly lower accuracy on the WM task and a trend for slower responses. An early visual evoked response potential was reduced in patients. Analysis of the electroencephalographic oscillations showed a decreased phase-locking factor (in the theta, beta and gamma bands) and signal power (theta frequency band). The beta and gamma oscillatory abnormalities were confined to two sets of correlated fronto and occipital electrodes.
The findings of event-related potential and oscillatory abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia confirm the sensitivity of early visual information processing measurements for identification of schizophrenia phenotype. The fronto-occipital distribution of the oscillatory abnormalities replicates our findings from a schizotypal sample and implicates a possible top-down dysfunction as a vulnerability trait.
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