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J Clin Neurophysiol. 2010 Jun;27(3):179-90. doi: 10.1097/WNP.0b013e3181e0b20a.

Patterns of spontaneous magnetoencephalographic activity in patients with schizophrenia.

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Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts 02478, USA.


Magnetoencephalography noninvasively measures the magnetic fields produced by the brain. Pertinent research articles from 1993 to 2009 that measured spontaneous, whole-head magnetoencephalography activity in patients with schizophrenia were reviewed. Data on localization of oscillatory activity and correlation of these findings with psychotic symptoms are summarized. Although the variety of measures used by different research groups makes a quantitative meta-analysis difficult, it appears that magnetoencephalography activity in patients may exhibit identifiable patterns, defined by topographic organization and frequency band. Specifically, 11 of the 12 studies showed increased theta (4-8 Hz) and delta (1-4 Hz) band oscillations in the temporal lobes of patients; of the 10 studies that examined the relationship between oscillatory activity and symptomatology, 8 found a positive correlation between temporal lobe theta activity and positive schizophrenic symptoms. Abnormally high frontal delta activity was not seen. These findings are analyzed in comparison with the electroencephalogram literature on schizophrenics, and possible confounds (e.g., medication effects) are discussed. In the future, magnetoencephalography might be used to assist in diagnosis or might be fruitfully used in conjunction with new neuroscience research approaches such as computational modeling, which may be able to link oscillatory activity and cellular-level pathology.

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