Manoach DS, White N, Lindgren KA, Heckers S, Coleman MJ, Dubal S, Goff DC, Holzman PS
Schizophr. Res. 2005 Oct;78(1):1-12
OBJECTIVE: Using functional MRI, we investigated whether, like healthy subjects, patients with schizophrenia show a relative hemispheric specialization in ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) for spatial and shape working memory (WM). We hypothesized that reduced specialization in schizophrenia would reflect a failure to adopt optimal domain-specific strategies and would contribute to WM deficits.
METHODS: Twelve healthy subjects and 16 schizophrenia patients performed spatial and shape WM tasks and a non-WM control task. Direct comparisons of the spatial and shape WM tasks assessed specialization.
RESULTS: Despite deficient WM performance, both patients and controls showed a relative hemispheric specialization in ventrolateral PFC for spatial (right) and shape (left) WM and did not differ in this regard.
CONCLUSIONS: The finding of intact hemispheric specialization in ventrolateral PFC suggests that patients employ the same domain-specific strategies as healthy subjects during spatial and shape WM. Rather than reflecting a failure to adopt the optimal strategy, we hypothesize that WM deficits in schizophrenia reflect impairments of executive processes that are required for WM performance regardless of domain. These processes are associated with activity in the dorsolateral PFC, a region that has been repeatedly implicated in studies of WM.
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