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A longitudinal multi-center fMRI study of cognition and emotion in first-episode schizophrenia patients
The German competence network of schizophrenia offers the unique possibility of examining a large sample of first-episode schizophrenia patients with multiple aims: Determination of cerebral dysfunctions in patients during cognitive and emotional processes and long-term observations by means of repeated fMRI measurements are being performed with the aim of determining the stability of dysfunctions during the course of illness and detecting predictors for relapse and therapeutic response.
64 first-episode schizophrenia patients and 59 matched healthy controls have been investigated at first measurement time point during attentional and working memory functions applying an n-back task, reassessments (after 6 months, 1 and 2 years of pharmacological treatment with either haloperidol or risperidone (double-blind design)) have been performed in 17 patients and 17 controls. Preliminary results indicate a dysfunctional neural network mainly in parietal and frontal areas in patients. With psychopathological remission and improved neuropsychological functioning a normalization of cerebral dysfunctions can be demonstrated.