PET brain mapping study of auditory verbal supraspan memory versus visual fixation in schizophrenia.
Ganguli R., Carter C., Mintun M., Brar J., Becker J., Sarma R., Nichols T., Bennington E.
Changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF), associated with performance of an auditory verbal supraspan memory task, were studied in eight remitted DSM-III-R schizophrenic patients and eight pair-wise matched normal controls. Four positron emission tomography (PET) scans, using the [15O]-H2O technique, were acquired: two while subjects fixated a cross hair and two while performing a verbal free-recall supraspan memory task. Task performance showed typical patterns of recency and primacy effects in both groups; however, patients performed more poorly than controls on the primary (working) memory aspect of the task. Regions showing rCBF changes overlapped in both groups and were similar to those seen in previous studies of normals; however, patients had smaller increases in rCBF than controls in frontal and superior temporal cortical regions bilaterally. Our results suggest that remitted patients with schizophrenia demonstrate impairments of capacity-limited information processing, which may be related to metabolic dysfunction within a distributed network of brain structures, including the prefrontal and temporal cortical regions; however, dysfunction limited to the frontal cortex cannot be ruled out by the results of this experiment.