Language in schizophrenia: relation with diagnosis, symptomatology and white matter tracts

J. N. de Boer*, M. van Hoogdalem, R. C. W. Mandl, J. Brummelman, A. E. Voppel, M. J. H. Begemann, E. van Dellen, F. N. K. Wijnen, I. E. C. Sommer

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Language deviations are a core symptom of schizophrenia. With the advances in computational linguistics, language can be easily assessed in exact and reproducible measures. This study investigated how language characteristics relate to schizophrenia diagnosis, symptom, severity and integrity of the white matter language tracts in patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls. Spontaneous speech was recorded and diffusion tensor imaging was performed in 26 schizophrenia patients and 22 controls. We were able to classify both groups with a sensitivity of 89% and a specificity of 82%, based on mean length of utterance and clauses per utterance. Language disturbances were associated with negative symptom severity. Computational language measures predicted language tract integrity in patients (adjusted R-2 = 0.467) and controls (adjusted R-2 = 0.483). Quantitative language analyses have both clinical and biological validity, offer a simple, helpful marker of both severity and underlying pathology, and provide a promising tool for schizophrenia research and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Number of pages10
JournalNPJ Schizophrenia
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20-Apr-2020

Keywords

  • SPEECH
  • CONNECTIVITY
  • DISORDER
  • LATERALIZATION
  • ABNORMALITIES
  • DIFFUSIVITY
  • ANISOTROPY
  • CHILDHOOD
  • INTEGRITY
  • LENGTH

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