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Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Jun 15;65(12):1071-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.12.024. Epub 2009 Feb 7.

Pre-attentive auditory processing in ultra-high-risk for schizophrenia with magnetoencephalography.

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Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.



It is uncertain whether the neurobiological abnormalities in schizophrenia emerge at the first episode of the disorder or are present during the prodromal phase. Recent neuroimaging studies indicate that some brain abnormalities are present in subjects at ultra-high-risk (UHR) for schizophrenia. Pre-attentive auditory deficits, which represent a core feature of schizophrenia, were investigated in individuals at UHR for schizophrenia.


We assessed early auditory processing indexed by the magnetoencephalographic mismatch negativity magnetic counterpart (MMNm) component elicited during a passive oddball paradigm in UHR individuals. Sixteen individuals at UHR for schizophrenia on the basis of clinical criteria and 18 healthy control subjects matched for age, gender, and education participated. A duration-deviant oddball paradigm was used to obtain MMNm dipole moment, which was measured with cortical source modeling.


The UHR group showed a smaller right MMNm dipole moment than those of the control group. Group difference was observed in MMNm dipole latency, suggestive of slowed processing. The left MMNm dipole moment was negatively correlated with clinical symptoms measured by the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental States positive symptom score.


Our findings suggest that deficits in the early stage of auditory processing in individuals at UHR for schizophrenia exist before the onset of psychosis. The MMNm dipole moment might reflect the functional decline at the prodromal stage of schizophrenia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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