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Cognitive impairment is an established feature of schizophrenia. However,
little is known about its relationship to the structural and functional
brain abnormalities that characterise the disorder.
To identify structural and/or functional brain abnormalities associated
with schizophrenic cognitive impairment.
We carried out structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and
voxel-based morphometry in 26 participants who were cognitively impaired
and 23 who were cognitively preserved, all with schizophrenia, plus 39
matched controls. Nineteen of those who were cognitively impaired and 18
of those who were cognitively preserved plus 34 controls also underwent
functional MRI during performance of a working memory task.
No differences were found between the participants who were cognitively
intact and those who were cognitively impaired in lateral ventricular
volume or whole brain volume. Voxel-based morphometry also failed to
reveal clusters of significant difference in grey and white matter volume
between these two groups. However, during performance of the n-back task,
the participants who were cognitively impaired showed hypoactivation
compared with those who were cognitively intact in the dorsolateral
prefrontal cortex among other brain regions.
Cognitive impairment in schizophrenia is not a function of the structural
brain abnormality that accompanies the disorder but has correlates in
altered brain function.
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