1322 – Mirror neuron dysfunction and ego-boundary disturbances in schizophrenia

  • Mehta U
  • Basavaraju R
  • Thirthalli J
  • et al.
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Abstract

INTRODUCTION<br />Ego-boundary disturbance (EBD) in schizophrenia is a unique psychopathological cluster characterized by passivity experiences (involving thoughts, actions, emotions and sensations) attributed by patients to some external agency. Aberrant mirror neuron activation may explain impaired self-monitoring and agency attribution underlying these ‘first rank’ symptoms. <br /><br />AIMS<br />We aim to study mirror neuron activity (MNA) in schizophrenia patients with and without EBD using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). <br /><br />METHODS<br />50 right-handed schizophrenia patients (DSM IV) were evaluated using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview and the Positive & Negative Syndrome Scale. They completed a TMS experiment to assess putative premotor MNA. Motor evoked potential (MEP) was recorded in the right first dorsal interosseous muscle (FDI) with (a) 120% of resting motor threshold (RMT) and (b) stimulus intensity set to evoke MEP of 1 millivolt amplitude (MT1). These were done in 3 states: actual observation of an action using the FDI, virtual-observation (video) of this action and resting state. The difference of MEP between resting to action-observation states formed the measure of MNA. <br /><br />RESULTS<br />MNA measured using MT1 and 120% RMT paradigms for real-observation was significantly lower in the 18 patients with EBD (thought-broadcast/withdrawal/insertion, made-act/impulse/affect and somatic passivity) than the 32 patients without EBD (t=2.75, p=0.009; t=2.41, p=0.02 respectively for the two paradigms). The two groups did not differ on age, gender, education and total symptom scores. <br /><br />CONCLUSIONS<br />Schizophrenia patients with EBD have lower premotor MNA. This highlights the role of MNA dysfunction in the pathophysiology of this unique and intriguing symptom cluster in schizophrenia.

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Mehta, U. M., Basavaraju, R., Thirthalli, J., & Gangadhar, B. N. (2013). 1322 – Mirror neuron dysfunction and ego-boundary disturbances in schizophrenia. European Psychiatry, 28, 1. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0924-9338(13)76376-4

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