Help at hand for people with schizophrenia

May 24, 2013 by Solrun Dregelid

How can healthy people who hear voices help schizophrenics? Finding the answer for this is at the centre of research conducted at the University of Bergen.

Researchers from the Bergen fMRI Group at the University of Bergen (UiB) are working on how to help schizophrenics, who hear voices. The way they do this is by studying people who also hear voices, but who do not suffer from a . For a five-year period, the group is studying the processes causing people to hear voices. A recent report published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience shows some of the group's startling results.

"We have found that the primary of healthy people who hear voices, responds less to outside stimulus than the corresponding area of the brain in people who don't hear voices," says Post Doctor Kristiina Kompus.

Kompus, who works at UiB's Department of Biological and , is lead author of the just published study.

Variations in cognitive control

The primary auditory cortex is the region of the brain that processes sound. Kompus' study shows that healthy people who hear voices share some attributes with schizophrenics, as the cortical region in both groups reacts less to outside .

However, there is an important difference between people who hear voices. Whilst those with have a reduced ability to regulate the primary auditory cortex using cognitive control, those who hear voices but are healthy are able to do so.

"Because of this , who hear voices are able to direct their attention outwards. This sets them apart from schizophrenics, who have a tendency to direct their attention inwards due to their decreased ability to regulate their primary auditory cortex," says Kompus before adding,

"These discoveries have brought us one step close to understanding the hallucinations of schizophrenics and why the voices become a problem for some people but not for others."

Many healthy people hear voices

So what is the next step for Kompus and her fellow researchers?

"We will do further research on the brain structure of people with auditory hallucinations. In particular, we wish to look at the brain's networks that process outside voices. This is to establish whether these voice and the outside voices occur in the same parts of the brain. We also wish to establish if hearing voices is a genetical trait," she says.

According to the researchers, approximately five per cent of us hear voices in the head, even if otherwise healthy. This number is based on research from several countries and surveys. For their own research, Kompus and her team used local media in Bergen to call for people who hear voices. The results were overwhelming, with around 30 people getting in touch with the researchers to register for the study.

Explore further: Brain uses internal 'average voice' prototype to identify who is talking

More information: www.frontiersin.org/Human_Neur … .2013.00144/abstract

Related Stories

Brain uses internal 'average voice' prototype to identify who is talking

May 23, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—The human brain is able to identify individuals' voices by comparing them against an internal 'average voice' prototype, according to neuroscientists.

Body size conveyed by voice determines vocal attractiveness

April 24, 2013
Deep male voices and high-pitched female voices are perceived as more attractive because listeners gauge the speaker's body size from the frequency of their voice, according to research published April 24 in the open access ...

New brain-test app

February 8, 2013
Two years ago, researcher Josef Bless was listening to music on his phone when he suddenly had an idea.

The voices in older literature speak differently today

October 15, 2012
When we read a text, we hear a voice talking to us. Yet the voice changes over time. In his new book titled Poesins röster, Mats Malm, professor in comparative literature at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that ...

People prefer leaders with more masculine voices, even in feminine leadership roles

December 12, 2012
Male and female leaders with masculine voices are preferred by both men and women. However, even in leadership roles that are typically held by women, both sexes prefer women leaders with low-pitched voices, according to ...

Recommended for you

Faulty support cells disrupt communication in brains of people with schizophrenia

July 20, 2017
New research has identified the culprit behind the wiring problems in the brains of people with schizophrenia. When researchers transplanted human brain cells generated from individuals diagnosed with childhood-onset schizophrenia ...

Scientists discover combined sensory map for heat, humidity in fly brain

July 20, 2017
Northwestern University neuroscientists now can visualize how fruit flies sense and process humidity and temperature together through a "sensory map" within their brains, according to new research.

Scientists reveal how patterns of brain activity direct specific body movements

July 20, 2017
New research by Columbia scientists offers fresh insight into how the brain tells the body to move, from simple behaviors like walking, to trained movements that may take years to master. The discovery in mice advances knowledge ...

Team traces masculinization in mice to estrogen receptor in inhibitory neurons

July 20, 2017
Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have opened a black box in the brain whose contents explain one of the remarkable yet mysterious facts of life.

Speech language therapy delivered through the Internet leads to similar improvements as in-person treatment

July 20, 2017
Telerehabilitation helps healthcare professionals reach more patients in need, but some worry it doesn't offer the same quality of care as in-person treatment. This isn't the case, according to recent research by Baycrest.

New study reveals contrasts in how groups of neurons function during decision making

July 19, 2017
By training mice to perform a sound identification task in a virtual reality maze, researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) have identified striking contrasts in how groups of neurons ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

beleg
3 / 5 (2) May 24, 2013
Hearing motion is not a auditory hallucination.
Hearing voices is a auditory hallucination.

Are there composers of music born deaf?
Are we privileged to share their hallucination with a sense they are not born with - their 'hallucinations' of music?
beleg
3 / 5 (2) May 24, 2013
Above comment typos are:
a=an

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.