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The regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) response to the Wisconsin Card Sort Test (WCST) has been used to assess the functional integrity of the prefrontal cortex in patients with schizophrenia.
In this study, patients were divided into two groups according to whether they had made few or many perseverative errors on a modified version of the WCST. A control group consisted of normal volunteers. The groups were then compared with respect to rCBF response to WCST activation.
rCBF was measured during administration of a modified version of the WCST and during a card sorting control task, using single photon emission computerised tomography (SPECT).
Performance of the modified WCST was associated with a widespread and substantial increase in rCBF, particularly in the frontal region. The poorly performing group of patients with schizophrenia showed only a modest increase in rCBF in the left anterior cingulate region.
Subjects with schizophrenia are able to respond to specific neuropsychological challenge with activation of the frontal regions.
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