Mismatch negativity (MMN) to spatial deviants and behavioral spatial discrimination ability in the etiology of auditory verbal hallucinations and thought disorder in schizophrenia.
BACKGROUND Formal thought disorder (FTD) in schizophrenia has been found to be associated with volume reductions in the left superior temporal cortex. However, there have been negative findings and some studies have also found associations in other cortical regions. METHOD Fifty-one schizophrenic patients were evaluated for presence of FTD with the Thought, Language and Communication (TLC) scale and underwent whole-brain structural MRI using optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Fifty-nine matched healthy controls were also scanned. RESULTS Compared to 31 patients without FTD (global TLC rating 0 or 1), 20 patients with FTD (global TLC rating 2-5) showed clusters of volume reduction in the medial frontal and orbitofrontal cortex bilaterally, and in two left-sided areas approximating to Broca's and Wernicke's areas. The pattern of FTD-associated volume reductions was largely different from that found in a comparison between the healthy controls and the patients without FTD. Analysis of correlations within regions-of-interest based on the above clusters indicated that the 'fluent disorganization' component of FTD was correlated with volume reductions in both Broca's and Wernicke's areas, whereas poverty of content of speech was correlated with reductions in the medial frontal/orbitofrontal cortex. CONCLUSIONS The findings point to a relationship between FTD in schizophrenia and structural brain pathology in brain areas involved in language and executive function.