Neural Correlates of Prospective Memory Impairments in Schizophrenia

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Abstract

Objective: Prospective memory (PM) refers to the ability to remember to carry out intended actions after a delay. PM impairments are common in schizophrenia patients and are thought to be related to their prefrontal cortex dysfunction; however, this has not yet been examined directly in the research literature. The current study aimed to examine abnormalities in brain activation during PM task performance in schizophrenia patients. Method: Twenty-two schizophrenia patients and 25 matched healthy controls were scanned in a 3-T MRI machine while performing a PM task. Results: The results showed that compared to the healthy controls, schizophrenia patients performed significantly worse on the PM task. Furthermore, they exhibited decreased brain activation in frontal cortex including the right superior frontal gyri (Brodmann area 10), and other related brain areas like the anterior cingulate gyrus, parietal and temporal cortex, including precuneus, and some subcortext, including parahippocampal gyrus and putamen. Conclusions: These findings confirm the involvement and importance of the prefrontal cortex in PM and show evidence of hypofrontality in schizophrenia patients while performing a PM task.

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