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Biol Psychiatry. 2000 Jan 1;47(1):61-70.

Effective neuroleptic medication removes prepulse inhibition deficits in schizophrenia patients.

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1
Department of Psychology, University of Greifswald, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The magnitude of the startle eyeblink response is reduced if the startle eliciting stimulus is shortly preceded by another stimulus. There is evidence that schizophrenia patients exhibit impairments in this so-called prepulse inhibition. Our study investigated whether prepulse inhibition is affected by neuroleptic drug treatment as is suggested by animal research.

METHODS:

Prepulse inhibition was tested in five unmedicated and 20 medicated inpatients with schizophrenia, and 12 normal controls.

RESULTS:

The unmedicated schizophrenia patients showed a strong impairment of sensorimotor gating as indexed by the absence of prepulse inhibition. By contrast, the medicated patients showed a pronounced prepulse inhibition that did not differ from that of the normal controls. There was a substantial covariation between the rated severity of the positive syndrome and the amount of prepulse inhibition--i.e., the patients whose positive symptoms were rated as more severe showed less prepulse inhibition.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data suggest that the impaired sensorimotor gating of schizophrenia patients is not a stable vulnerability indicator, but may rather be related to the positive syndrome and may be improved by treatments with neuroleptic medication.

PMID:
10650450
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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