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Cereb Cortex. 2004 Jan;14(1):91-6.

Neuroanatomy of "hearing voices": a frontotemporal brain structural abnormality associated with auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, Philosophenweg 3, D-07743 Jena, Germany. christian.gaser@uni-jena.de

Abstract

Auditory hallucinations are a frequent symptom in schizophrenia. While functional imaging studies have suggested the association of certain patterns of brain activity with sub-syndromes or single symptoms (e.g. positive symptoms such as hallucinations), there has been only limited evidence from structural imaging or post-mortem studies. In this study, we investigated the relation of local brain structural deficits to severity of auditory hallucinations, particularly in perisylvian areas previously reported to be involved in auditory hallucinations. In order to overcome certain limitations of conventional volumetric methods, we used deformation-based morphometry (DBM), a novel automated whole-brain morphometric technique, to assess local gray and white matter deficits in structural magnetic resonance images of 85 schizophrenia patients. We found severity of auditory hallucinations to be significantly correlated (P < 0.001) with volume loss in the left transverse temporal gyrus of Heschl (primary auditory cortex) and left (inferior) supramarginal gyrus, as well as middle/inferior right prefrontal gyri. This demonstrates a pattern of distributed structural abnormalities specific for auditory hallucinations and suggests hallucination-specific alterations in areas of a frontotemporal network for processing auditory information and language.

PMID:
14654460
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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