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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Dec 30;194(3):257-62. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2011.05.011. Epub 2011 Nov 12.

Prefrontal hyperactivation during a working memory task in early-onset schizophrenia spectrum disorders: an fMRI study.

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  • 1Vestre Viken Hospital Trust, 1309 Rud, Oslo, Norway; Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Norway. rune.thormodsen@psykologi.uio.no


Working memory (WM) dysfunction is increasingly recognized as a core feature of schizophrenia, but few studies have investigated prefrontal activation during WM tasks in early-onset schizophrenia spectrum disorder (EOS). Our aim was to explore prefrontal activation during a WM-task in EOS patients compared to healthy controls using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Fifteen patients with EOS and 15 matched healthy controls performed a 0-back and a 2-back task while fMRI data were acquired. Results indicated that even though performance between patients and controls was comparable on both tasks, there was a hyperactivation in patients' ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) during the 2-back task compared to healthy controls. This pattern of activation suggests that, in patients with EOS, the VLPFC compensated in order to match performance of the controls. The activations in the EOS group may reflect the use of a compensatory, cognitive strategy while solving WM-tasks.

2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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