Neuroplasticity in the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex of People with Schizophrenia Measured by Paired Associative Stimulation
Advisor:K Tarek Rajji
Abstract (summary):Cognitive impairments are a common symptom of schizophrenia, and may be caused in part by disrupted neuroplasticity. Aging is associated with further decline in both neuroplasticity and cognition. Cognitive ability is one of the strongest predictors of functional outcome for people with schizophrenia, thus understanding the nature of these impairments is an important step for improving quality of life for this population.Paired Associative Stimulation (PAS) is a transcranial magnetic stimulation protocol that assesses neuroplasticity. PAS was used to evaluate increases in cortical excitability and theta-gamma coupling – a measure that describes the relationship between neural oscillations – in older people with schizophrenia and healthy controls.Both forms of neuroplasticity were impaired in schizophrenia. Furthermore, plasticity of theta-gamma coupling decreased with increasing age. These results contribute to understanding aging in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of people with schizophrenia, however further research is needed to connect these deficits to cognition.