Mirta Villarreal

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The vegetative state (VS) is characterized by the absence of awareness of self or the environment and preserved autonomic functions. The diagnosis relies critically on the lack of consistent signs of purposeful behavior in response to external stimulation. Yet, given that patients with disorders of consciousness often exhibit fragmented movement patterns,(More)
Previous studies have linked action recognition with a particular pool of neurons located in the ventral premotor cortex, the posterior parietal cortex and the superior temporal sulcus (the mirror neuron system). However, it is still unclear if transitive and intransitive gestures share the same neural substrates during action-recognition processes. In the(More)
Previous studies have suggested that social cognition is affected in individuals with schizophrenia. The purpose of this study was to explore to what extent social cognition deficits are shared by unaffected first-degree relatives, and the nature of the relationship between performance in different paradigms of social cognition. 20 Schizophrenia patients (7(More)
Although investigations addressing cognitive recovery from the vegetative state have been reported, to date there have been no detailed studies of these patients combining both neuropsychology and functional imaging to monitor and record the recovery of consciousness. This paper describes the recovery of a specific vegetative state (VS) case. The patient(More)
BACKGROUND Social cognitive deficits contribute to functional disability in schizophrenia. Social cognitive tasks in healthy persons consistently evoke activation of medial prefrontal cortex, inferior frontal gyrus, temporoparietal gyrus, and posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus. We tested the hypothesis that patients with schizophrenia and their unaffected(More)
Severe traumatic brain injury can lead to disorders of consciousness (DOC) characterized by deficit in conscious awareness and cognitive impairment including coma, vegetative state, minimally consciousness, and lock-in syndrome. Of crucial importance is to find objective markers that can account for the large-scale disturbances of brain function to help the(More)
Measures of social competence are closely related to actual community functioning in patients with schizophrenia. However, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying competence in schizophrenia are not fully understood. We hypothesized that social deficits in schizophrenia are explained, at least in part, by abnormally lateralized patterns of brain(More)
Hemispheric specialization in affective responses has received little attention in the literature. This is a fundamental variable to understand circuit dynamics of networks subserving emotion. In this study we put to test a modified "valence" hypothesis of emotion processing, considering that sadness and happiness are processed by each hemisphere in(More)
OBJECTIVE The objective of the study was to determine whether patients with schizophrenia and their unaffected first-degree relatives have abnormal autonomic nervous system (ANS) responses to social cognition tasks. BACKGROUND Social cognition impairments are significant in schizophrenia. ANS activity has been shown to be abnormal in schizophrenia(More)
Environmental influences are critical for the expression of genes putatively related to the behavioral and cognitive phenotypes of schizophrenia. Among such factors, psychosocial stress has been proposed to play a major role in the expression of symptoms. However, it is unsettled how stress interacts with pathophysiological pathways to produce the disease.(More)