Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health condition that affects the memory, feelings, and behavior of a person. Although it may not be a very common mental disorder, its symptoms are quite debilitating in nature, such as hallucination and delusion. The symptoms of schizophrenia usually begin to manifest between 16 and 30 years of age. A schizophrenic’s imagination grows so strong that he is not able to distinguish between the real and the unreal. Among all these, the worst affected is a person’s memory.
Though memory loss is a major symptom of the condition, many people can have difficulties in remembering even the simple things or recalling past experiences. In this context, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh conducted a study that explored the possibilities of a link between the cognitive problems of schizophrenia patients and disruptions in the visuospatial working memory of their brains’ (also known as cognitive ability) network. They analyzed the patterns and working of GABA and neurotransmitters glutamate in a network of brain regions responsible for temporarily maintaining and processing visual information about the location of objects in space.
The study revealed that the effect in memory skills in schizophrenia occurs when there is a shift in the balance between glutamate and GABA. For a smooth functioning of the visuospatial working memory, there has to be a precise balance of activities between GABA and glutamate. It might be these alterations responsible for a disruption in visuospatial working memory in schizophrenia patients, the researchers added.
Link between memory and schizophrenia
The researchers noticed a difference in the levels of the gene product involved in the production and use of glutamate and GABA in brain tissue in people with and without schizophrenia. They further noticed that while the levels of gene product existed distinctly across all the different regions of the brain, they were altered in the cortical regions in the postmortem of the brains in the individuals suffering from the condition. These alterations – varying from being high, low to unchanged – became their cues to identify the flaws that occur in the brain mechanics of working memory in people suffering from schizophrenia.
In a nutshell, the study concluded that in case of schizophrenia the weight of markers of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission is disrupted by region-specific alterations. Additionally, the findings also suggested that when information passes through the different regions in the network, multiple disruptions might occur. The researchers noted that the findings of this study highlight that the differences in the cortical abnormalities across brain regions may increase the profile of symptoms linked to schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia symptoms and treatment
Despite numerous studies conducted to understand schizophrenia, the exact cause of the condition remains elusive. Experts say that the condition can occur due to a combination of factors, such as genetic predisposition, living conditions or environmental stressors. Furthermore, a few ways schizophrenia can also manifest are:
- Negative symptoms, such as a loss or decrease in the ability to initiate plans, speak, express emotion or finding pleasure.
- Disorganization symptoms like confused and disordered thinking and speech, trouble with logical thinking and sometimes bizarre behavior or abnormal movements.
- Impaired cognition like problems with attention, concentration, memory, and declining educational performance.
Fortunately, schizophrenia is treatable with proper medical intervention. Hence, it is essential to seek immediate help with the onset of the symptoms. A proper medical diagnosis is important to determine the condition accurately, as identifying schizophrenia based on symptoms can be misleading. Additionally, a clinical assessment is also useful in determining the severity and duration of the condition, which further helps in deciding the most effective treatment method.
Therefore, if a loved one is experiencing symptoms similar to that of schizophrenia, you should immediately consult a licensed medical practitioner. You can seek help of Texas Mental Health Recover Helpline to know about mental health recovery centers near you. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 596-4708 or chat online with our experts to talk about the best mental health recovery centers in Texas.