Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lack of motivation in schizophrenia linked to brain chemical imbalance

08.05.2008
A study of patients with psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia suggests an alternative explanation for why many sufferers lack motivation. The research is described today in BioMed Central’s journal BMC Psychiatry.

In addition to the hallucinations that often characterize schizophrenia, patients also have major problems with apathy and lack of motivation. The dopamine hypothesis argues that unusual behaviour associated with schizophrenia can largely be explained by variations in the dopamine function of the brain.

Exploring a possible link between dopamine activity and the lack of motivation could be key to developing new approaches to helping such patients cope with life.

In a study funded by the National Institute of Health Research, Dr Graham Murray of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge and colleagues studied 18 patients presenting with first-episode psychotic symptoms. They compared the patients' performance against 19 healthy participants in a computerised test of motivated behaviour.

The participants took part in a reaction time test, assigning a reward to each trial. In the control group, almost all individuals reacted faster if the potential reward for completing the task was higher. This well documented phenomenon was observed in less than a quarter of the first-episode psychosis group, suggesting an abnormality in the processing of incentives for their actions. Eleven of these participants were taking atypical antipsychotic medications, which are sometimes thought to be responsible for ‘demotivating’ patients. However, this study found that these medications had no significant effect on the results.

In the past, some critics have suggested that patients’ motivational problems are simply secondary to long-term treatment effects, or institutionalisation, but because the researchers studied young adults at the very early stages of their illness, they could rule out this possibility. "Patients with psychosis already have motivational deficits the first time they present to health services." said Dr Murray. ”Understanding the brain basis of these problems will ultimately help in developing new treatments.”

The next step in demonstrating a link between lack of motivation and the brain's biochemical reward system will be to investigate whether self-motivation can be safely stimulated in patients with psychoses using medication, including drugs that trigger the release of dopamine but which do not worsen their other symptoms.

Charlotte Webber | alfa
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com
http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcpsychiatry/

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>