Neurocognition, movement disorder and corticostriatal function in first-episode schizophrenia

For people living with schizophrenia, anti-psychotic medications can help control delusions and hallucinations. However, it is far more difficult to treat schizophrenia’s neurocognitive effects, such as disordered thinking and problems with memory and planning. Dr. Donna Lang is working toward uncovering the underlying causes of these devastating symptoms. Her previous research included a study comparing risperidone – a new-generation drug – to traditional anti-psychotics, in terms of how they affect deep-brain structures called the basal ganglia. Lang focused on how faulty wiring between the basal ganglia and other brain regions may be linked to neurocognitive problems in people with schizophrenia. In her current study, Lang is using tools such as Diffusion Tensor Imaging – state-of-the-art imaging technology – to learn more about brain activity in schizophrenia patients, before and after treatment. Lang hopes findings from the research will lead to more effective treatment of schizophrenia.