Research Article| Volume 25, ISSUE 5, P549-561, March 01, 1989

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Sensory gating in schizophrenics and normal controls: Effects of changing stimulation interval

  • Herbert T. Nagamoto
    Address reprint requests to Dr. Herbert Nagamoto, Department of Psychiatry, Box C268, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 4200 East Ninth Avenue, Denver, CO 80262.
    From the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center and the Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, COUSA
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  • Lawrence E. Adler
    From the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center and the Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, COUSA
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  • Merilyne C. Waldo
    From the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center and the Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, COUSA
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  • Robert Freedman
    From the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center and the Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, COUSA
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      Auditory evoked potentials were recorded using a paired click, conditioning-testing paradigm in 10 schizophrenics and in 10 normal subjects with no family history of psychotic disorder. The paradigm is used to demonstrate central nervous system gating of responsiveness to auditory stimuli by examining the extent to which the response to the conditioning stimulus diminishes the response to a test stimulus occurring a short time later. Recordings were made at conditioning-testing intervals of 500 msec, 150 msec, and 75 msec to determine subjects' gating of responsiveness to stimuli repeated at various intervals. The schizophrenics had conditioning-testing ratios indicative of poor gating of the auditory P50 wave at the 500-msec and 150-msec intervals, but most patients had good sensory gating at the 75-msec interval. Normal subjects showed good sensory gating at all three intervals. Results suggest that although sensory gating mechanisms responsible for changes in neuronal response at longer intervals are chronically defective in schizophrenics, other gating mechanisms functioning at shorter intervals appear to be intact and function well in most patients. The results may lead to increased specification of the neurobiological basis of sensory abnormalities in schizophrenia.
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