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Brain activity may predict schizophrenia

Changes in brain activities of individuals on being given ketamine drug may predict their vulnerability to schizophrenia.

Brain activity may predict schizophrenia

Changes in brain activities of individuals on being given ketamine drug may predict their vulnerability to schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a complex mental illness in which a person loses the ability to think, feel or behave normally. The patient seems to live in a distorted world, and is usually unaware of his illness. The disorder is more commonly seen in men than women. The cause of this disorder is not known. It may be caused by a chemical defect in the brain. Imbalance of neuro-transmittors glutamate and dopamine has been associated with the disorder. To discover a means of anticipating how people might behave during a psychotic episode, British researchers compared the brain activity of 15 healthy volunteers before and after they were given ketamine, a psychosis drug that mimics schizophrenia symptoms. Increased brain activity during some tasks in the normal state predicted behaviours after the participants were given ketamine. For example, those who showed more frontal and temporal brain activity while imaging the sounds of voices in their normal state were more likely to experience strange perceptions after taking ketamine. Moreover, volunteers who showed increased activity in these brain regions while trying to complete simple sentences were more likely to have disordered thoughts after they took the drug. The temporal lobe is involved in speech, hearing and memory. The frontal lobe is involved in planning, decision-making and correcting and troubleshooting errors. The above findings show why schizophrenia symptoms vary widely and may suggest new personalised diagnosis and treatment approaches.
The Journal of Neuroscience
June 2008
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