July 01, 2004

Visual processing deficits in Schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology

Pam Butler, a researcher at the Nathan Kline Institute of Psychiatric Research, will use a $1.65 million NIMH grant to study visual processing abnormalities in schizophrenia patients.

Dr. Butler has already seen evidence that such patients often can't identify objects as well or as quickly as people without the disorder. She pinpoints the problem as a processing difficulty rather than a strict sight problem.

"What we are finding is that these people can see fine," Butler said. "But there are subtle changes that happen in one of the visual pathways."

She is conducting her study with MRI brain imaging techniques to examine the visual processing pathways in schizophrenia patients and normal subjects. Butler hopes that insight into the perceptual processing disfunction of the disease may lead to new diagnosis and treatment techniques, particularly of cognitive problems.

To review other research into possible sensory processing deficits that contribute to schizophrenia and psychotic symptoms, see the following PubMed abstracts:

'Electrophysiological evidence for altered early cerebral somatosensory signal procesing in schizophrenia'

'Processing of global, but not local, motion direction is deficient in schizophrenia'

'Sensory information processing in neuroleptic-naive first-episode schizophrenia patients: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study'

For the full-text news article, please see 'How Schizophrenia Affects the Brain' in The Journal News (www.thejournalnews.com), 6/30/04.


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