Frontal Brain May Hold Clues Regarding Risk Of Schizophrenia

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Differences in brain structures could explain the link between schizophrenia and hallucinations, according to a new study conducted by University of Cambridge researchers.

A new study suggests that a difference exists between the length of a frontal lobe brain fold for schizophrenia patients who suffer from hallucinations compared to people who do not. The brain wrinkle called paracingulate sulcus (PCS) is critical for brain development before birth, and now researchers believe it may play a role between hallucinations and schizophrenia.

“We think that the PCS is involved in brain networks that help us recognize information that has been generated ourselves,” said Jane Garrison, first author of the study. “People with a shorter PCS seem less able to distinguish the origin of such information and appear more likely to experience it as having been generated externally.”

Researchers believe that the difference in structure, shape and length of the PCS can increase the risk of hallucinations by almost 20 percent in people with schizophrenia.

Brain scans

During the study scientists examined brain scans of 153 participants and compared the results of 113 people suffering from the disease with 40 healthy individuals. Researchers noticed that the PCS varied amongst the participants, including a difference in length.

“It might be that if somebody is born with this particular property, a reduction in this brain fold, that might give them a predisposition towards developing something like hallucinations later on in life," said Jon Simons, a neuroscientist who contributed to the study.

Researchers hope that the study will help medical professionals provide an early diagnosis to enable patients to receive extra support and treatment as soon as possible.

Source: Albany Daily Star

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