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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: August 2010

17 - Latent inhibition in schizophrenia and schizotypy: a review of the empirical literature

from Current topics in latent inhibition research

Summary

Introduction

Schizophrenia is a severe neuropsychiatric disorder of unknown aetiology. The condition is clinically heterogeneous and affects virtually all areas of life, often resulting in disabling cognitive, perceptual, and emotional symptoms. The symptoms of schizophrenia are generally classified as positive (e.g. hallucinations and delusions), negative (e.g. anhedonia, alogia, thought paucity) and cognitive (e.g. thought disorder, bizarre thinking). The disease course is often chronic and the financial cost on the health-care system and society is tremendous, in addition to the personal consequences of the illness for friends and family of sufferers (Mangalore & Knapp,2007; McEvoy, 2007). Tragically, a substantial number of patients commit suicide.

The most successful treatments for schizophrenia that are currently prescribed are pharmacological, and most of these involve blockade of striatal dopamine receptors (Kapur & Remington, 2001). These treatments are successful in reducing the acute symptoms of the condition but provide no cure; accordingly, the need for a better understanding of the aetiology and pathophysiology of schizophrenia and the development of novel treatments is considerable. Drug development draws on many experimental strategies as well as on serendipity (Carpenter & Koenig, 2008; Javitt et al., 2008); translational models such as latent inhibition (LI) play an important role in the strategic effort to develop new treatments (Weiner, 2003). Indeed, a wealth of animal data exist that support the utility of the LI paradigm in studies of antipsychotic treatments (e.g., Weiner, this volume).

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