Scientists Trace ‘Voices’ in Schizophrenia Hearing voices, the hallmark symptom of schizophrenia, occurs when there is a heightened activity in the same part of the brain people use when they speak or think words, new findings suggest. HEARING voices, the hallmark symptom of schizophrenia, occurs when there is a heightened activity in the same part of the brain people use when they speak or think words, new findings suggest.
The results support a leading psychological theory of auditory hallucinations, which proposes that when people with schizophrenia hear voices, they are unable to recognize them as their own thoughts, and so perceive them as words spoken by someone else.
The researchers used a brain scanning technique to study the cerebral blood flow in schizophrenic men while they were having auditory hallucinations and again later when the men were not hallucinating. They found that the greatest neural activity during the auditory hallucinations was in Broca’s area, the brain’s speech center. The findings are reported in the current issue of Lancet, a medical journal published in Britain, by Dr. P. K. McGuire and colleagues at King’s College Hospital in London. Significance of Finding
“It’s an exciting finding,” said Dr. Richard Jed Wyatt, chief of the neuropsychiatry branch at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md. “It’s one of the first times we’ve been able to localize a specific, focal area of the brain active during a cognitive process in a living person with schizophrenia.”
New York Times (USA), 22nd September 1993