Toward a brain map of auditory hallucinations
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OBJECTIVE: This study asks whether auditory hallucinations are reflected in a distinctive metabolic map of the brain. METHOD: Regional brain metabolism was measured by positron emission tomography with [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose in 12 DSM-III schizophrenic patients who experienced auditory hallucinations during glucose uptake and 10 who did not. All patients were free of neuroleptics and 19 had never been treated with neuroleptics. Nine patients were reexamined after 1 year to assess effects of neuroleptic treatment. RESULTS: Compared with the patients who did not experience hallucinations, the patients who did experience hallucinations had significantly lower relative metabolism in auditory and Wernicke's regions and a trend toward higher metabolism in the right hemisphere homologue of Broca's region. Hallucination scores correlated positively and significantly with relative metabolism in the striatum and anterior cingulate regions. Neuroleptic treatment resulted in a significant increase in striatal metabolism and a reduced frontal-parietal ratio, which was significantly correlated with a decrease in hallucination scores. CONCLUSIONS: Auditory hallucinations involve language regions of the cortex in a pattern similar to that seen in normal subjects listening to their own voices but different in that left prefrontal regions are not activated. The striatum plays a critical role in auditory hallucinations.
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