Journal Article

Pathogenesis of Schizophrenic Delusions and Hallucinations: A Neural Model

Eytan Ruppin, James A. Reggia and David Horn

in Schizophrenia Bulletin

Published on behalf of Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

Volume 22, issue 1, pages 105-121
Published in print January 1996 | ISSN: 0586-7614
e-ISSN: 1745-1701 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/schbul/22.1.105
Pathogenesis of Schizophrenic Delusions and Hallucinations: A Neural Model

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We implement and study a computational model of Stevens' theory of the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. This theory hypothesizes that the onset of schizophrenia is associated with reactive synaptic regeneration in brain regions that receive degenerating temporal lobe projections. Concentrating on one such area, the frontal cortex, we model a frontal module as an associative memory neural network whose input synapses represent incoming temporal projections. Modeling Stevens' hypothesized pathological synaptic changes in this framework results in adverse side effects similar to hallucinations and delusions seen in schizophrenia: spontaneous, stimulus-independent retrieval of stored memories focused on just a few of the stored patterns. These could account for the delusions and hallucinations that occur in schizophrenia without any apparent external trigger and for their tendency to concentrate on a few central cognitive and perceptual themes. The model explains why the positive symptoms of schizophrenia tend to wane as the disease progresses, why delayed therapeutic intervention leads to a much slower response, and why delusions and hallucinations may persist for a long time when they do occur.

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Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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