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J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2001 Jul;7(5):606-14.

Asymmetrical hand force persistence and neuroleptic treatment in schizophrenia.

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The University of Alberta and The Alberta Hospital Edmonton, Canada.


The recent development of an isometric instrument for the precise quantification of hand force persistence has created a novel opportunity for the evaluation of potential motor asymmetries in schizophrenia and their response to treatment. A study of asymmetries in the unmedicated state may provide insight into the pathogenesis of schizophrenia, whereas alterations of asymmetries in response to antipsychotic medication could assist the delineation of a cerebral mechanism for the effects of pharmacotherapy. The hand force persistence of 21 unmedicated patients with schizophrenia was compared to 21 age, gender, and handedness matched normal controls. The effect of neuroleptic treatment on hand force persistence was then evaluated on a subset of 10 patients after at least 30 days of treatment. The anticipated asymmetry was evident in the unmedicated sample that showed impaired right hand force persistence compared to the normal control sample. The prospective comparison showed an alleviation of the asymmetry resulting from an improvement of right hand force persistence with treatment. In addition to providing further support to a primary left hemisphere cerebral involvement in schizophrenia, the present results suggest that prior investigations of motor asymmetry may have been compromised by the study of medicated patients. The apparently paradoxical improvement of motor skill may relate to the substantial number of patients treated with 2nd generation neuroleptic medications which may implicate an improvement in left hemisphere physiology in the cognitive advantages of the novel treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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