Brain circuits involved in language processing have been suggested to be compromised in patients with schizophrenia. This does not only include regions subserving language production and perception, but also auditory processing and attention. We investigated resting state network connectivity of auditory, language and attention networks of patients with schizophrenia and hypothesized that patients would show reduced connectivity.
Patients with schizophrenia (n=45) and healthy controls (n=30) underwent a resting state fMRI scan. Independent components analysis was used to identify networks of the auditory cortex, left inferior frontal language regions and the anterior cingulate region, associated with attention. The time courses of the components where correlated with each other, the correlations were transformed by a Fisher's Z transformation, and compared between groups. In patients with schizophrenia, we observed decreased connectivity between the auditory and language networks. Conversely, patients showed increased connectivity between the attention and language network compared to controls. There was no relationship with severity of symptoms such as auditory hallucinations.
The decreased connectivity between auditory and language processing areas observed in schizophrenia patients is consistent with earlier research and may underlie language processing difficulties. Altered anterior cingulate connectivity in patients may be a correlate of habitual suppression of unintended speech, or of excessive attention to internally generated speech. This altered connectivity pattern appears to be present independent of symptom severity, and may be suggestive of a trait, rather than a state characteristic. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.