ABSTRACT: Hemispheric asymmetry of the human hippocampus is well established, but poorly understood. We studied 110 healthy subjects with 3-Tesla MRI to explore the anatomical and functional correlates of the R>L volume asymmetry. We found that the asymmetry is limited to the anterior hippocampus (hemisphere×region interaction: F(1,109)=42.6, p<.001). Anterior hippocampal volume was correlated strongly with the volumes of all four cortical lobes. In contrast, posterior hippocampal volume was correlated strongly only with occipital lobe volume, moderately with the parietal and temporal lobe volumes and not with the frontal lobe volume. The degree of R>L anterior hippocampal volume asymmetry predicted performance on a measure of basic cognitive abilities. This provides evidence for regional specificity and functional implications of the well-known hemispheric asymmetry of hippocampal volume. We suggest that the developmental profile, genetic mechanisms and functional implications of R>L anterior hippocampal volume asymmetry in the human brain deserve further study.
Psychiatry Research 01/2012; 201(1):48-53. · 2.52 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Previous studies indicate that the transition to psychosis is associated with dynamic changes of hippocampal integrity. Here we explored hippocampal volume and neural activation during a relational memory task in patients who were in the early stage of a psychotic illness.
Forty-one early psychosis patients and 34 healthy control subjects completed a transitive inference (TI) task used previously in chronic schizophrenia patients. Participants learned to select the "winner" of two sets of stimulus pairs drawn from an overlapping sequence (A > B > C > D > E) and a nonoverlapping set (a > b, c > d, e > f, g > h). During a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan, participants were tested on the trained pairs and made inferential judgments on novel pairings that could be solved based on training (e.g., B vs. D). Hippocampal volumes were manually segmented and compared between groups. Functional magnetic resonance imaging analyses included 27 early psychosis patients and 30 control subjects who met memory training criteria.
Groups did not differ on inference performance or hippocampal volume and exhibited similar activation of medial temporal regions when judging nonoverlapping pairs. However, patients who failed to meet memory training criteria had smaller hippocampal volumes. Neural activity during TI was less widespread in early psychosis patients, but between-group differences were not significant. Hippocampal activity during TI was positively correlated with inference performance only in control subjects.
Our results provide evidence that relational memory impairment and hippocampal abnormalities, well established in chronic schizophrenia, are not fully present in early psychosis patients. This provides a rationale for early intervention, targeting the possible delay, reduction, or prevention of these deficits.
Biological psychiatry 11/2011; 71(2):105-13. · 8.93 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is associated with deficits in executive control and associative learning. In the present study, we investigated the effect of associative learning during a Go/NoGo task in healthy controls subjects and patients with schizophrenia.
Thirty patients with schizophrenia and 30 age-and-gender matched healthy control subjects performed 15 blocks of training and 3 blocks of test trials. The trials consisted of responding to words denoting either living or non-living objects. In the training condition, subjects were instructed to respond by pressing the space bar (Go-task) to one of the word types (living or non-living objects), but not the other. In the test phase, the Go/NoGo mapping was reversed. Subjects were instructed to respond as quickly and as accurately as possible. Reaction times (RT) and accuracy were recorded for each trial and all subjects were debriefed upon completion of the test trials.
Patients with schizophrenia had significantly longer Go RTs when compared to the control group, during both training and test trials. However, the two groups did not differ on any measure of associative learning.
Our findings suggest that associative learning is intact in schizophrenia patients during the performance of a relational Go/NoGo paradigm.
Biological Psychiatry 03/2010; 122(1-3):131-5. · 8.28 Impact Factor