Impaired hippocampal function during the detection of novel words in schizophrenia.Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Apr 01; 55(7):668-75.BP
Patients with schizophrenia have smaller hippocampal volumes and perform abnormally on most declarative memory tasks. Although these findings are likely related, the impact of hippocampal pathology on cognitive performance in schizophrenia remains unclear. This study examined this relationship by measuring the volume of the hippocampus and its activation during memory task performance.
Participants included 15 patients with schizophrenia and 16 age-matched control subjects. Hippocampal volume was determined via three-dimensional volumetric analysis of high-resolution magnetic resonance images. Hippocampal activity was assessed by measuring changes in blood oxygen level-dependent signal during a recognition memory task.
Patients with schizophrenia had smaller hippocampal volumes bilaterally and demonstrated poorer performance on the recognition memory task, largely because of a heightened rate of false alarms to novel stimuli. Both groups showed robust hippocampal activity to old and new items when compared with a low-level baseline task; however, direct comparison of hippocampal activity during recognition task performance revealed that healthy control, but not the schizophrenia, subjects showed significant right anterior hippocampal activation during the evaluation of novel items.
The impaired ability to classify new items as previously not experienced is associated with decreased recruitment and smaller volume of the hippocampus in schizophrenia.