Asymmetries in initiation of aiming movements in schizophrenia

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Several studies have reported motor symptoms in schizophrenia (SCZ), in some cases describing asymmetries in their manifestation. To date, biases were mainly reported for sequential movements, and the hypothesis was raised of a dopamine-related hemispheric imbalance. Aim of this research is to better characterize asymmetries in movement initiation in SCZ by exploring single actions. Fourteen SCZ patients and fourteen healthy subjects were recruited. On a trial-by-trial basis, participants were instructed to reach for one of eight possible targets. Measures of movement initiation and execution were collected. Starting point, target and moving limb were systematically varied to check for asymmetric responses. Results showed that SCZ patients, besides being overall slower than controls, additionally presented with a bias affecting both the moving hand and the side from which movements were initiated. This finding is discussed in relation to hemispheric lateralization in motor control.

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