The relationship between cingulum bundle integrity and different aspects of executive functions in chronic schizophrenia.

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Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences


BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that disruption in the cingulum bundle (CB) may influence executive dysfunctions in schizophrenia, but findings are still inconsistent. Using diffusion tensor imaging tractography, we investigated the differences in fiber integrity between schizophrenia patients and healthy controls together with the association between fiber integrity and executive functions.

METHODS: Thirty-two patients with chronic schizophrenia and 24 healthy controls took part in the study. Both groups were matched for age, sex, and years of education. Assessment of cognitive functions was performed using the Berg Card Sorting Test (BCST), the Color Trail Test (CTT), and the Stroop Color-Word Test (SCWT).

RESULTS: Results showed group differences, bilaterally (left and right) in fractional anisotropy (FA) of the CB, where patients showed less anisotropy than controls. Moreover, normal asymmetry (left FA > right FA) in the CB in schizophrenia was found. There were no group differences in mean diffusivity (MD). Patients had a similar but reduced profile of executive functions compared to healthy controls. However, when premorbid IQ was controlled for, the differences were no longer statistically significant. In schizophrenia patients, a negative correlation was found between FA of the left CB and perseverative errors in the BCST.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide evidence that CB disruption appears in schizophrenia patients and might account for impairments of executive processes, including concept formation.

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Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry