Original Research

Brain Imaging and Behavior

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 68-76

First online:

Neuropsychological variability, symptoms, and brain imaging in chronic schizophrenia

  • Paul G. NestorAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of MassachusettsClinical Neuroscience Division, Laboratory of Neuroscience, Boston VA Healthcare System-Brockton Division, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School Email author 
  • , Marek KubickiAffiliated withClinical Neuroscience Division, Laboratory of Neuroscience, Boston VA Healthcare System-Brockton Division, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical SchoolPsychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • , Motoaki NakamuraAffiliated withClinical Neuroscience Division, Laboratory of Neuroscience, Boston VA Healthcare System-Brockton Division, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical SchoolPsychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • , Margaret NiznikiewiczAffiliated withClinical Neuroscience Division, Laboratory of Neuroscience, Boston VA Healthcare System-Brockton Division, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
  • , James J. LevittAffiliated withClinical Neuroscience Division, Laboratory of Neuroscience, Boston VA Healthcare System-Brockton Division, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical SchoolPsychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • , Martha E. ShentonAffiliated withClinical Neuroscience Division, Laboratory of Neuroscience, Boston VA Healthcare System-Brockton Division, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical SchoolPsychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • , Robert W. McCarleyAffiliated withClinical Neuroscience Division, Laboratory of Neuroscience, Boston VA Healthcare System-Brockton Division, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

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Abstract

We examined variability in performance on widely-used neuropsychological Wechsler tests of intelligence and memory in a large sample of persons with chronic schizophrenia, a subset of whom had also undergone prior studies of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the orbital frontal cortex (OFC) gray matter and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the cingulum bundle (CB) and the uncinate fasiculus (UF) white matter. In comparison to controls, persons with schizophrenia showed lower scores across neuropsychological tests, with most pronounced drops in processing speed and immediate memory, in relation to oral reading. For patients, greater declines in intelligence and memory each correlated with reduced CB white matter fractional anisotropy and reduced OFC gray matter, respectively. However, only memory decline correlated with severity of negative symptoms. Taken together, these data raise the intriguing question as to whether communication and motivational deficits expressed in negative symptoms may contribute to the relationship of auditory memory decline and OFC volume observed in this patient sample.

Keywords

Schizophrenia Cingulum bundle Orbital frontal cortex Intelligence Memory