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Schizophr Bull. 2010 May;36(3):496-503. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbq037. Epub 2010 Apr 23.

Neural changes associated with relational learning in schizophrenia.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, PO Box 21247, Baltimore, MD 21228, USA. lrowland@mprc.umaryland.edu

Abstract

Relational learning, which is learning the relationship among items, is impaired in schizophrenia but can be improved with training. This study investigated neural changes with functional magnetic resonance imaging before and after training on a relational learning task in schizophrenia and healthy control subjects. Despite their acquiring similar relational learning performance, the groups exhibited different neural activation patterns before and following training. Controls engaged regions within the relational learning network that included frontal, parietal, and medial temporal lobe, before and following training. Controls also exhibited activation reductions in region and spatial extent with relational learning proficiency, a commonly observed phenomenon in successful learning. In contrast, subjects with schizophrenia displayed no positive activations compared with the control condition before training. After training, subjects with schizophrenia displayed bilateral inferior parietal region activation as predicted. Contrary to hypothesis, hippocampal activation was not observed following training in schizophrenia. These findings suggest that the parietal lobe may be receptive to cognitive training interventions and that successful relational learning may be achieved in schizophrenia through the use of alternative extrahippocampal brain regions.

PMID:
20418447
PMCID:
PMC2879675
DOI:
10.1093/schbul/sbq037
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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