Neural Structures and Schizophrenia
Professor David Lewis discusses how the diversity of symptoms in schizophrenia is reflected in the diversity of genetic and neural causes of the disorder.
Schizophrenia has a variety of symptoms and signs associated with it. These include delusions and hallucinations, impairments in motivation and emotional expression, and difficulties in a number of areas of thinking and attention and certain forms of memory. That diversity of symptoms clearly suggests that there are multiple regions of the brain, and multiple connections or circuits formed by these regions that are disturbed in schizophrenia. One of the most studied areas is the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, basically the part of the brain thatâ€™s directly beneath my hand now, and that part of the brain seems to be involved in executive processes and in a certain function called working memory - the ability to transiently keep in mind a bit of information and manipulate it in order to guide behavior. A major area of study in schizophrenia right now is deciphering the specific components, the molecules, cells, connections between cells called synapses, and the larger circuits that are present in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex that underlie this disturbance in working memory.
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Professor Philip Shaw outlines the main functions of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which include planning, attention, and working memory.
An overview of schizophrenia-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
Professor David Lewis explains that schizophrenic individuals can have coordination problems, which may relate to impaired neural circuits.
Schizophrenia is underlined by subtle changes in multiple regions in the brain. Professor David Lewis discusses some of these changes.
Doctor Richard Coppola explains how magnetoencephalography (MEG) is used to record exquisite images of the brain.
The basal ganglia, a group of interconnected brain areas located deep in the cerebral cortex, have proved to be at work in learning, the formation of good and bad habits, and some psychiatric and addictive disorders.
Professor James Watson notes that a feature of the schizophrenic brain is a smaller prefrontal cortex. This may relate to difficulties in problem-solving.
The prefrontal cortex is thought to play an important role in 'higher' brain functions. It is a critical part of the executive system, which refers to planning, reasoning, and judgment.
Only quite recently have neuroscientists begun to understand the importance of white matter, a long-neglected part of the brain.
The idea that drug addiction is a result of 'learning gone wild' was bolstered by several reports.