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Haenschel C, Bittner RA, Waltz J, Haertling F, Wibral M, Singer W, Linden DE, Rodriguez E. Cortical oscillatory activity is critical for working memory as revealed by deficits in early-onset schizophrenia. J Neurosci . 2009 Jul 29 ; 29(30):9481-9. PubMed Abstract

Comments on Paper and Primary News
Comment by:  Raymond Cho
Submitted 29 September 2009 Posted 29 September 2009

Considered one of the core cognitive impairments in the illness, working memory disturbances have been intensely studied in schizophrenia. While functional neuroimaging studies have provided important anatomic localization of associated neural deficits (primarily to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex), characterizing the precise nature of the physiologic disturbances remains an active line of research. Disturbances in the ability of neural networks to coordinate activity through synchronized oscillations, which have been shown to underlie a number of perceptual and cognitive processes in the illness, are also thought to provide the neurophysiologic basis for working memory impairments in the illness (Basar-Eroglu et al., 2007; Cho et al., 2006). This recent paper by Haenschel and colleagues makes a valuable contribution to this literature, with a systematic examination of the component processes of working memory function in early-onset schizophrenia patients, indexing synchrony across...  Read more

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Comment by:  Kevin Spencer (Disclosure)
Submitted 12 October 2009 Posted 12 October 2009
  I recommend this paper

I thought it was interesting that oscillatory activity in the early-onset schizophrenia patients was actually fairly intact, compared to the control subjects. There was no difference in alpha power between controls and patients during the delay period, and a gamma power deficit in the patients only appeared in the late part of the delay period. Furthermore, this late gamma deficit was supported statistically by post-hoc tests following only a trend level interaction with the group at p = .079. This isn't a very robust effect.

If the authors had elected to use the standard statistical criterion for post-hoc testing of alpha = .05, this deficit would not have been detected and the paper's conclusion would have been that delay-period oscillatory activity is not affected in early-onset schizophrenia patients. It would seem that the most robust oscillation deficits were in the retrieval period in the theta and gamma bands, which of course are very interesting. (The evoked theta deficit in the encoding period was apparently due to the P1 ERP, as the authors reported in their...  Read more

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