London, Aug. 21 (Reuters): The delusions and other psychotic symptoms experienced by people with schizophrenia may be caused by a faulty brain “switch” that blurs their ability to distinguish inner thoughts from objective reality, scientists said today.
In a study published in the journal Neuron, researchers found the severity of symptoms such as hearing voices and delusions was because of a disconnection between two key regions of the brain — the insula and the lateral frontal cortex. The finding could in future lead to the development of better, more targeted treatments for schizophrenia.
“In our daily life, we constantly switch between our inner, private world and the outer, objective world,” said Lena Palaniyappan, of Nottingham University’s psychiatry department, who co-led the study.
“This switching action is enabled by the connections between the insula and frontal cortex. (But) this switch process appears to be disrupted in patients with schizophrenia.” Schizophrenia is one of the most common serious psychiatric disorders affecting around 1 in 100 people worldwide.