Interhemispheric coordination reduced in schizophrenia
medwireNews: Results from a US study show that patients with schizophrenia have significantly decreased interhemispheric coordination compared with mentally healthy individuals.
The team found that interhemispheric functional connectivity was particularly reduced in the occipital lobe, the thalamus, and the cerebellum of patients with schizophrenia.
As previous studies have primarily focused on within-hemispheric connectivity, the current findings, published in Schizophrenia Research, "suggest an important new avenue to explore in order to better understand the nature of the deficits that are so disabling in patients with schizophrenia," say the authors.
The team studied 25 patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and 23 mentally healthy individuals (controls) who underwent resting-state functional magnetic imaging scans of the brain. Interhemispheric coordination was compared between the two groups using a technique called voxel-mirrored homotopic connectivity (VMHC).
Analysis of the data revealed that schizophrenia patients showed significant VMHC reductions in a large area of the brain, primarily between left and right lingual gyri, the cuneus, thalamus, and the declive of the cerebellum.
The differences between the groups remained significant after accounting for handedness and medication use, the researchers note.
There were no areas of increased VMHC in schizophrenia patients compared with controls.
The team also found a significant negative correlation between VMHC in the postcentral gyrus extending into the precentral gyrus and total scores on the Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS) in patients with schizophrenia.
"The primary finding of this work is that the correlation between homologous brain regions was reduced in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder," conclude Matthew Hoptman (Nathan Kline Institute, Orangeburg, New York) and team.
They add that the finding regarding a negative correlation between PANSS scores and VMHC suggests that "this measure might have implications for psychopathology."
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By Mark Cowen, Senior medwireNews Reporter