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Near-infrared spectroscopy analysis of frontal lobe dysfunction in schizophrenia

      Abstract

      Background

      Previous studies have shown that near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has high temporal resolution, requires little restraint, and is suitable for examining the effect of psychological tasks on brain circulation. In the present study, frontal function in schizophrenic patients was analyzed by NIRS during random number generation (RNG), ruler-catching (RC), and sequential finger-to-thumb (SFT) tasks.

      Methods

      Two sets of NIRS probes were attached to the foreheads of 13 schizophrenic patients and 10 control subjects approximately at Fp1–F7 and Fp2–F8. Near-infrared spectroscopy was conducted at a sampling rate of 1 Hz, with the pathlength being determined by time-resolved spectroscopy with differential pathlength factor measurements. The absolute changes in oxygenated (oxy-Hb) and deoxygenated (deoxy-Hb) hemoglobin concentrations in response to each task were measured, and total hemoglobin (total-Hb) concentration was calculated as the sum of the two.

      Results

      During RNG task, total- and oxy-Hb concentrations increased, and deoxy-Hb decreased, but the responses were significantly smaller in schizophrenic patients. During RC task, oxy-Hb in schizophrenic patients tended to decrease, in contrast to the mostly increasing response in control subjects. No group difference was observed during SFT task.

      Conclusions

      Task-dependent profile of functional abnormalities was observed in schizophrenic frontal brain metabolism. These results support the usefulness of NIRS data in investigating frontal lobe dysfunction and evaluating psychopathologic condition in schizophrenic patients.

      Keywords

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