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J Psychiatr Res. 2014 Sep;56:43-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.04.022. Epub 2014 May 9.

Working memory dysfunction in delusional disorders: an fMRI investigation.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Istanbul School of Medicine, Istanbul University, Istanbul Millet Street, Capa 34390 Istanbul, Turkey. Electronic address: drserapb@yahoo.com.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Bakirkoy Dr Sadi Konuk Education and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 3Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 4Department of Radiology, Yeditepe University Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 5Department of Neurology, Bakirkoy Research and Training Hospital for Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery, İstanbul, Turkey.
  • 6Department of Radiology, Istanbul Education and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 7Department of Radiology, Medicalpark University, Göztepe Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.



Delusional disorder (DD) is a rare and understudied psychiatric disorder. There is limited number of studies concerning cognitive characteristics in DD. Using an established working memory paradigm with variable levels of memory load, we investigated alterations in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of brain regions in patients with DD.


This case control study included 9 patients with DD and 9 healthy control subjects matched for age, sex, and education level. Diagnosis of DD was confirmed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I. The severity of the symptoms was evaluated using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. All patients were asked to perform 0-back and 2-back tasks during fMRI experiments. Functional imaging was performed using the 3.0 T Philips whole-body scanner using an 8-channel head coil.


Participants with DD had less neural activation of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in fMRI scans obtained during performance tasks. On the other hand, neural activation of the left and right superior temporal gyrus, left middle and inferior temporal gyrus, right and left posterior cingulate gyrus, right amygdala, left and right fusiform gyrus was more prominent in patients with DD in comparison with the control group.


Patients with DD had dysfunction in the prefrontal, temporal and limbic regions of the brain in particular, during performance tasks of working memory. Our findings were in line with the findings of the early reports on deficient functioning in temporal or limbic regions of the brain. Further, patients with DD displayed prefrontal dysfunction as seen in patients with schizophrenia.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Delusional disorder; Working memory; fMRI

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