Neural correlates of the attention network test in schizophrenia
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Attentional deficits are prominent in schizophrenia, affecting nearly all cognitive functions. Human attention comprises three essential components: alerting, orienting and executive control. For the assessment of these functions, the attention network test (ANT) has been proposed and used in healthy controls and patients. In schizophrenia, the ANT has revealed behavioral deficits; however, the corresponding neural correlates have not been examined. In the present study, neural correlates of attention were investigated in 17 schizophrenia patients and 17 healthy controls using the ANT with fMRI. Behavioral deficits emerged in the alertness system with a reduced efficiency for temporal cues. In fMRI, changes were observed for all three domains–alerting, orienting and conflict–and revealed hyper- as well as hypoactivation in patients. Affected regions during alerting comprised a broad fronto-temporo-parieto-occipito-cerebellar network, while differences during orienting mainly tapped fronto-parietal regions and during conflict processing a thalamo-frontal-temporal occipital network including the postcentral regions. In general, hyperactivations were positively correlated with more severe psychopathologial symptoms.
KeywordsANT fMRI Alertness Orienting
This work was supported by the German Research Foundation KFO 112/2-1 and 2-2, DFG HA 3202/3-1, the Helmholtz Alliance `Mental Health in an Ageing Society′ funded by the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association (HelMA, 016W0751), The IZKF of the Medical School of the RWTH Aachen (VV N68-j; N4-4).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
This supplement was not sponsored by outside commercial interests. It was funded by the German Association for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (DGPPN).
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