Faulty Brain Switch leads to Schizophrenic Symptoms

By  , Agency News
Aug 23, 2013

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Psychotic symptoms on schizophrenics could be due to a faulty switch in the brain.

  • The research conducted by scientists at the University of Nottingham demonstrated the severity of the symptoms caused by a disconnection between two important regions in the brain, namely, the insula and lateral frontal cortex.
  • We normally tend to switch between out inner world and the outer world, for scizophrenics this switch seems to be disrupted.

schizophrenia symptoms

People with schizophrenia who experience psychotic symptoms such as voices in the head or hallucinations could be because of a faulty switch that lies within the brain. This has been found by The University of Nottingham researchers.

The researchers from the University demonstrated that the severity of symptoms such as delusions and hallucination that are typical in such patients could be caused by a disconnection between two important regions in the brain, namely, the insula and lateral frontal cortex. This breakthrough has formed the basis of better, more targeted treatments for schizophrenia that has fewer side effects.

Dr. Lena Palaniyappan from the University’s Division of Psychiatry said, "In our daily life, we constantly switch between our inner, private world and the outer, objective world. This switching action is enabled by the connections between the insula and frontal cortex. This switch process appears to be disrupted in patients with schizophrenia."

The scientists used functional MRI (fMRI) imaging in order to compare the brains of 35 healthy volunteers with those of the 38 schizophrenic patients.
The results showed that whereas the majority of healthy patients were able to make this switch between regions, the patients with schizophrenia were less likely to shift to using their frontal cortex.

The study was published in the journal Neuron.

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