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Schizophr Res. 2013 Jun;147(1):196-200. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2013.03.025. Epub 2013 Apr 13.

Early sensory processing deficits predict sensitivity to distraction in schizophrenia.

Author information

1
Neuroscience Program, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA; Research Science, Denver VA Medical Center, Denver, CO, USA; Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA. Electronic address: Jason.Smucny@ucdenver.edu.
2
Research Science, Denver VA Medical Center, Denver, CO, USA; Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA.
3
Neuroscience Program, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA; Research Science, Denver VA Medical Center, Denver, CO, USA; Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA.

Abstract

Patients with schizophrenia frequently report difficulties paying attention during important tasks, because they are distracted by noise in the environment. The neurobiological mechanism underlying this problem is, however, poorly understood. The goal of this study was to determine if early sensory processing deficits contribute to sensitivity to distracting noise in schizophrenia. To that end, we examined the effect of environmentally relevant distracting noise on performance of an attention task in 19 patients with schizophrenia and 22 age and gender-matched healthy comparison subjects. Using electroencephalography, P50 auditory gating ratios also were measured in the same subjects and were examined for their relationship to noise-induced changes in performance on the attention task. Positive symptoms also were evaluated in patients. Distracting noise caused a greater increase in reaction time in patients, relative to comparison subjects, on the attention task. Higher P50 auditory gating ratios also were observed in patients. P50 gating ratio significantly correlated with the magnitude of noise-induced increase in reaction time. Noise-induced increase in reaction time was associated with delusional thoughts in patients. P50 ratios were associated with delusional thoughts and hallucinations in patients. In conclusion, the observation of noise effects on attention in patients is consistent with subjective reports from patients. The observed relationship between noise effects on reaction time and P50 auditory gating supports the hypothesis that early inhibitory processing deficits may contribute to susceptibility to distraction in the illness.

PMID:
23590872
PMCID:
PMC3650096
DOI:
10.1016/j.schres.2013.03.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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