August 30, 2007

New Schizophrenia Study in Alberta, Canada - Opportunity to Participate

A new University of Alberta research study that could improve understanding of schizophrenia is seeking volunteers.

David McAllindon, a masters student in biomedical engineering, is conducting a study using MRI technology to compare brain activity in schizophrenics to people without the disease.

"It adds to our understanding of the disease and the effects of the disease, and hopefully our understanding ... can lead to better treatment in the long run," McAllindon said.

Tests have started and will run until January or February, 2007.

McAllindon is recruiting right-handed men aged 18 to 50 who will be asked to lie in an MRI machine and respond to projected images by pushing buttons. The study will measure their response time and their brain activity during the task.

The study is working with three groups: Men diagnosed with schizophrenia, sons and brothers of people diagnosed with schizophrenia, and healthy men.

McAllindon is using only male subjects because brain activation results differ too much between men and women to be easily comparable.

He is also using relatives of schizophrenics to see whether they show milder symptoms of the disease.

"We'd like to see if schizophrenia is a spectrum, so you can have varying degrees."

Previous studies on schizophrenics measuring electrical activity in the brain showed a correlation between activity in a certain part of the brain and reaction time: Greater brain activity meant faster reactions.

"That seems to be an area of the brain that converts an intention into an action," McAllindon said.

"I'm looking for a difference in the activation a schizophrenic person has versus a healthy volunteer. We hope to be able to identify that difference: Why do people with schizophrenia have a slower response time?"

To Participate:

If you live in Alberta, Canada call 604-0048, or e-mail

To Learn more about the study: Researcher scanning for clues in schizophrenia mystery


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