Frontal Lobes and Schizophrenia
Professor Daniel Weinberger explains that the frontal lobes, which are involved in planning and reasoning, may be disrupted in schizophrenia.
The frontal lobes appear to play a very important role in schizophrenia. We have been very interested in schizophrenia research in trying to understand how the brain is involved in this condition. And the brain is very different, for example, as an organ than organs like the liver. You know, in the liver if you lose two-thirds, whatâ€™s left is one third of a liver. The brain doesnâ€™t work like that. The brain is compartmentalized in terms of its function. So different parts of the brain play very different roles in terms of how the brain organizes your behavior and helps you deal with your environment. The frontal lobes are the part of the brain that are probably the most highly evolved, most human part of the brain that is involved with processing complex environmental information and making plans for how to act in those complicated environments. The frontal lobe is involved in aspects of thinking and behavior related to planning, judgment, following through on a series of acts so that those acts are coherent, logical, and sequential, and appreciating that past experience is important for how you guide your behavior in the here and now. The frontal lobe is thought to be the central executive, the chief executive officer if you will of the brain. So, because many of the problems that patients with schizophrenia have involve the regulation of their behavior, the regulation of their perception of their cognitive apparatus, the ability to organize behavior so that it fits the contextual environmental context â€“ these functions which are thought to be served by the frontal lobe suggest that the frontal lobe is not really working that well in schizophrenia.
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