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Deficits in attentional modulation of sensory stimuli in first episode schizophrenia

Fribance, Sarah (2018) Deficits in attentional modulation of sensory stimuli in first episode schizophrenia. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Individuals with schizophrenia have abnormal EEG-based measures of brain activity to auditory stimuli. However, it is not known whether the deficits are purely sensory in nature or reflect the inability of executive control cognitive centers to modulate sensory processing by selective attention, another cognitive function impaired in schizophrenia. To address this issue, the late perceptual N100 event-related auditory brain potential was examined between attend and ignore conditions. The N100 is increased in healthy individuals when sounds are attended, providing an objective measure of selective attention effects. Eighteen individuals experiencing their first psychotic episode within the schizophrenia-spectrum (FE) and 17 matched healthy controls (HC) were compared on two auditory attention tasks. In the single tone task, participants ignored the tones in one block and pressed a button to every 7th tone in another block. In the two-tone “oddball” task, participants ignored tones in one block and pressed to the oddball tone (infrequent higher frequency tone) in another. FE showed marginally smaller N100 across tasks and conditions (p=0.053). Attentional modulation of the N100 was marginally impaired in FE (Group x Attention, p =0.058). The increase in N100 was greater for the oddball task (p =0.04) and follow up analyses revealed that FE did not modulate N100 during the oddball task with attention to the same extent as HC (p = 0.051). This deficit may reflect a long-range functional disconnection between cognitive control cortical areas and sensory cortex early in disease course. This difference in N100 modulation between groups may be useful in learning more about the neurophysiology of the disease and could be utilized as a potential biomarker for diagnosis among clinically high-risk individuals.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Fribance, Sarahsaf89@pitt.edusaf89
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorSalisbury,
Committee MemberFisher, DerekDerek.Fisher@MSVU.CA
Committee MemberBachman,
Committee MemberSteinhauer,
Committee MemberFanselow,
Date: 24 April 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 29 March 2018
Approval Date: 24 April 2018
Submission Date: 19 April 2018
Access Restriction: 1 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 1 year.
Number of Pages: 36
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Neuroscience
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: First-episode schizophrenia attention biomarker N100 ERP
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2018 17:13
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2019 05:15


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