New Technology Sheds Light on Schizophrenia
By Michelle Armstrong
Professor Karen Froud presented research findings on the language abnormalities of schizophrenics at a recent symposium sponsored by the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia. Through the use of magnetoencephalography, or MEG, electrical impulses in the brain can be measured to determine what occurs during specific neurophysiologic processes. "We can look at processes that proceed very, very quickly. It gives far better temporal resolution than we can get with MRI," she said.
Professor Froud, a faculty member in the speech language pathology and audiology program, addressed how the data indicate how individuals with schizophrenia process language. "A lexical decision is one in which you have to decide whether a string of letters is a word or not . . . which means activation of all possible word matches that you know, and selection of the best possible match while inhibiting all others," she said. She explained that one key feature of schizophrenia is a hyperactivation of lexical associative processes that results in floods of words and ideas.
The article, entitled "Imaging Offers Insight into Schizophrenia," appeared in the December 2004 edition of Clinical Psychiatry News.