Background - Abnormalities in visual processes have been observed in schizophrenia patients and have been associated with alteration of the lateral occipital complex and visual cortex. However, the relationship of these abnormalities with clinical symptomatology is largely unknown.
Methods - We investigated the brain activity associated with object perception in schizophrenia. Pictures of common objects were presented to 26 healthy participants (age = 36.9; 11 females) and 20 schizophrenia patients (age = 39.9; 8 females) in an fMRI study.
Results - In the healthy sample the presentation of pictures yielded significant activation (pFWE (cluster) < 0.001) of the bilateral fusiform gyrus, bilateral lingual gyrus, and bilateral middle occipital gyrus. In patients, the bilateral fusiform gyrus and bilateral lingual gyrus were significantly activated (pFWE (cluster) < 0.001), but not so the middle occipital gyrus. However, significant bilateral activation of the middle occipital gyrus (pFWE (cluster) < 0.05) was revealed when illness duration was controlled for. Depression was significantly associated with increased activation, and anxiety with decreased activation, of the right middle occipital gyrus and several other brain areas in the patient group. No association with positive or negative symptoms was revealed.
Conclusions - Illness duration accounts for the weak activation of the middle occipital gyrus in patients during picture presentation. Affective symptoms, but not positive or negative symptoms, influence the activation of the right middle occipital gyrus and other brain areas.
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- affective symptoms
- middle occipital gyrus
- object perception