New Insight Into Schizophrenia
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Schizophrenia is a serious psychiatric disorder, usually starting in late adolescence, which is characterized by a range of positive and negative symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, cognitive impairment, social withdrawal, self-neglect and loss of motivation and initiative.
A team of researchers from Plymouth and Spain have used the non-invasive magnetoencephalogram (MEG) technique to find two spectral features that are significantly different in schizophrenia patients compared to healthy control subjects.
In this study, the frequency spectrum of the MEG background activity was analyzed in 15 schizophrenia patients with positive symptoms and 17 age-matched healthy control subjects.
A range of spectral features from the MEGs were analyzed to provide a holistic view of the brain activity of each subject. The MEG produced 148 values for each subject, which were subsequently divided into five different groups representing different parts of the brain, and were statistically analyzed.
The researchers also investigated whether the spectral features could be used to distinguish between schizophrenia patients and the healthy controls. They showed that they were able to classify patients with 71 percent accuracy.
Furthermore, they found that there were four spectral features in the brain signals of schizophrenia patients that changed with age, compared to healthy control subjects, suggesting that schizophrenia affects the way in which brain activity evolves with age.
Lead author of the study Dr Javier Escudero says, "The long-term vision is to develop a low-cost, non-invasive and objective test to aid the diagnosis of this and other brain diseases. The magnetoencephalogram is able to provide very detailed information about the brain activity; however, it is expensive. Therefore, we aim to transfer these developments to electroencephalogram recordings in the future, as this technique meets those requirements of reduced cost, high availability and non-invasiveness."
SOURCE: Journal Physiological Measurement, January, 2013