Magnetic fields produced by the naturally occurring electrical currents in the brain could potentially be used as an objective test for schizophrenia and help to better understand the disease, according to new research just published.
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.
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.
The study is published in the journal Physiological Measurement.
Schizophrenia is a serious psychiatric disorder, usually starting in late adolescence, which is characterised by a range of positive and negative symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, cognitive impairment, social withdrawal, self-neglect and loss of motivation and initiative.
It has no objective test and is currently diagnosed by clinicians who assess patients using a defined set of criteria.
Lead author of the study Dr Javier Escudero said: "At present, there is no blood, cerebrospinal fluid, brain imaging or neurophysiological test for schizophrenia in routine clinical practice. The diagnosis relies on the interpretation of symptoms and clinical history according to consensus criteria.
"The advent of an objective marker for schizophrenia would significantly facilitate the diagnosis and offer a better understanding of the neurobiological basis of the disease."
In this study, the frequency spectrum of the MEG background activity was analysed in 15 schizophrenia patients with positive symptoms and 17 age-matched healthy control subjects.
A range of spectral features from the MEGs were analysed 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 analysed.
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 per cent accuracy.
"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," continued Dr Escudero.
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
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The researchers are from Plymouth University, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Centro de Tecnología Biomédica, Hospital Universitario San Carlos and University of Valladolid. The published version of the paper: "Changes in the MEG background activity in patients with positive symptoms of schizophrenia: spectral analysis and impact of age" (Javier Escudero et al 2013 Physiol. Meas. 34 265) Institute of Physics
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Convinced Schizophrenia is an affliction of our over-developed Brains
posted by Steve on 18 Feb 2013 at 10:42 pm
There is a long history of schizophrenia in the world Most treatments render sufferers to a sub human Existence due to the debilitating side effects of ALL of the Neuroleptic medications. Don't accept mainstream Treatment and/or psychiatry,s explanation Of how the treatment for this unique experience Should manifest. Big pharmaceutical companies And medicine is totally invested in the failed treatments. Look outside the square, invest in long term re-arranging Of lifestyle with psychological specialists. I have Worked in mainstream mental health as a practitioner For more than 2 decades and am convinced Schizophrenia is an affliction of our over- developed Brains. Try to teach sufferers to overpower Their hallucinations and delusions. Read everything!!!! For a start try: Madness Explained by Richard. P. Bentall And all strength to you
my son has this illness since he was 16, he is now 26. he has tried many meds, but was best on clozapine, but he stopped taking it as he had to have his appendix out and blamed it on the drug, this is a hard road you have in front of you, but i hope they keep trying different dosage and different meds, all the best
my daughter has used this designer drug called bath salts and has been admitted to mental health three times due to her bizarre behavior. she is no way near as intelligent as she once was and in fact is very very delusional. yes she hears voices and is currently incarcerated. she is 16 yrs of age and taking zaidis (spelling), a disolvable tab, a form of zyprexa at 15mg dosage once per evening. she was taken from school by probation and put in juvenille hall for not abiding by the rules of the ankle bracelet. she refused to take her meds and was treated as if she was normal but defiant for over 3 1/2 wks. they couldn't figure her out. she has had some very traumatic experiences before and after incarceration. she now is very much schizophrenic and delusional even including morbid thoughts of things she thought or "the voices" tell her has happened. the voices tell her to skip school, run and God only knows what else. she is a teenager and believes that teenagers don't eat or sleep. that it is bad for them. she now has a name for the voices and it is "probation." she is making up stories and starting to believe her voices. she has been incarcerated since dec. 14 2013. this story goes much deeper than i can present except for the fact that i as her mother will never give up. my main concern is if this is the right medicine for her? i definately know those four walls have done nothing but worsen her traumatically. i am desperately looking for help in a nurturing environment , not in juvenille hall. i only have medi-cal.
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