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Neurobiological mechanisms of auditory verbal hallucinations

English title Neurobiological mechanisms of auditory verbal hallucinations
Applicant Dierks Thomas
Number 112578
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Abteilung Psychiatrische Neurophysiologie Universitätsklinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Neurology, Psychiatry
Start/End 01.06.2006 - 31.05.2012
Approved amount 281'825.00
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Keywords (6)

hallucinations; schizophrenia; functional magnetic resonance imaging; diffusion tensor imaging; tractography; electroencephalography (EEG)

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Sensory perceptions in the absence of a corresponding adequate external sensory stimulus are called hallucinations and are occurring in many different mental states. However, they are one of the key features of schizophrenia with a life time prevalence of 60 %. Previous neuroimaging studies have indicated that language related cerebral regions are involved in the genesis of auditory verbal hallucination. Previously we could demonstrate alterations of the neuronal activity and connectivity of auditory cortex during auditory verbal hallucinations. Our results together with the ones from other previous studies indicate that the mechanism of “self monitoring” may be the key feature behind the genesis of hallucinations. However the exact mechanism behind this symptom remains elusive. By simultaneously assessing structural and functional properties of language related circuits in the brain we aim to test our hypothesis regarding the genesis of auditory verbal hallucinations, in which we postulate that the self-monitoring mechanism is disturbed in schizophrenic patients suffering from auditory verbal hallucinations. The propagation of a copy of action outcome and the related feedback mechanisms are disturbed leading too a missing inhibition of sensory centers within language circuits. The missing inhibition leads to the patient’s inability to distinguish self-generated thoughts from external stimulation (hallucinations). We propose that related to this are alterations of white matter fiber tracts connecting language related cerebral centers as well as their structure and function.
Cerebral activation pattern of hallucinations and the function of language related centers will be assessed by functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). The pathways of white matter fiber tracts connecting the language related centers as well as their integrity and directionality will be determined by MRI technologies (DTI). The information transfer in between the centers will be assessed by evaluation of electrical brain activity (EEG). Schizophrenic patients suffering from hallucinations, schizophrenic patients who never have experienced hallucination and healthy control subjects will be investigated.
Hearing voices that do not exist is a most distressing symptom for schizophrenic patients and a quarter of all patients suffering from such auditory verbal hallucinations commit serious suicide attempts. Since about a third off all patients are refractory to antipsychotic drugs it is not only of great scientific interest to elucidate the neurobiological mechanisms involved in the genesis of hallucination but also of high clinical impact. Better coping strategies, reduced social stigmatization and new therapeutic approaches can only be realized when these mechanisms can be better described and understood.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Possible dysregulation of cortical plasticity in auditory verbal hallucinations-A cortical thickness study in schizophrenia.
van Swam Claudia, Federspiel Andrea, Hubl Daniela, Wiest Roland, Boesch Chris, Vermathen Peter, Kreis Roland, Strik Werner, Dierks Thomas (2012), Possible dysregulation of cortical plasticity in auditory verbal hallucinations-A cortical thickness study in schizophrenia., in Journal of psychiatric research, 46(8), 1015-23.
Neuroimaging auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia: from neuroanatomy to neurochemistry and beyond.
Allen Paul, Modinos Gemma, Hubl Daniela, Shields Gregory, Cachia Arnaud, Jardri Renaud, Thomas Pierre, Woodward Todd, Shotbolt Paul, Plaze Marion, Hoffman Ralph (2012), Neuroimaging auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia: from neuroanatomy to neurochemistry and beyond., in Schizophrenia bulletin, 38(4), 695-703.
Neurophysiological studies of auditory verbal hallucinations.
Ford Judith M, Dierks Thomas, Fisher Derek J, Herrmann Christoph S, Hubl Daniela, Kindler Jochen, Koenig Thomas, Mathalon Daniel H, Spencer Kevin M, Strik Werner, van Lutterveld Remko (2012), Neurophysiological studies of auditory verbal hallucinations., in Schizophrenia bulletin, 38(4), 715-23.
Muting the Voice: A Case of Arterial Spin Labeling-Monitored Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Treatment of Auditory Verbal Hallucinations
Homan P, Kindler J, Federspiel A, Flury R, Hubl D, Hauf M, Dierks T (2011), Muting the Voice: A Case of Arterial Spin Labeling-Monitored Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Treatment of Auditory Verbal Hallucinations, in AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY, 168(8), 853-854.
Resting-state EEG in schizophrenia: Auditory verbal hallucinations are related to shortening of specific microstates
Kindler J, Hubl D, Strik WK, Dierks T, Koenig T (2011), Resting-state EEG in schizophrenia: Auditory verbal hallucinations are related to shortening of specific microstates, in CLINICAL NEUROPHYSIOLOGY, 122(6), 1179-1182.
Structural Analysis of Heschl's Gyrus in Schizophrenia Patients with Auditory Hallucinations
Hubl D, Dougoud-Chauvin V, Zeller M, Federspiel A, Boesch C, Strik W, Dierks T, Koenig T (2010), Structural Analysis of Heschl's Gyrus in Schizophrenia Patients with Auditory Hallucinations, in NEUROPSYCHOBIOLOGY, 61(1), 1-9.
Hallucinations, thought disorders, and the language domain in schizophrenia
Strik W, Dierks I, Hubl D, Horn H (2008), Hallucinations, thought disorders, and the language domain in schizophrenia, in CLINICAL EEG AND NEUROSCIENCE, 39(2), 91-94.
Hearing dysphasic voices
Hubl D, Hauf M, van Swam C, Muri R, Dierks T, Strik W (2007), Hearing dysphasic voices, in LANCET, 370(9586), 538-538.
Competition for neuronal resources: how hallucinations make themselves heard
Hubl D, Koenig T, Strik WK, Garcia LM, Dierks T (2007), Competition for neuronal resources: how hallucinations make themselves heard, in BRITISH JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY, 190, 57-62.
Auditory verbal hallucinations: imaging, analysis, and intervention.
Homan Philipp, Kindler Jochen, Hubl Daniela, Dierks Thomas, Auditory verbal hallucinations: imaging, analysis, and intervention., in European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience.
Common mechanisms of auditory hallucinations – perfusion studies in epilepsy.
Hauf M., Wiest R., Schindler K., Jann K., Dierks T., Strik W., Schroth G., Hubl D., Common mechanisms of auditory hallucinations – perfusion studies in epilepsy., in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.
Electrophysiology of hallucinations.
van Swam C., Dierks T., Hubl D., Electrophysiology of hallucinations., Springer Verlag, Springer.
Is gamma band EEG synchronization reduced during auditory driving in schizophrenia patients with auditory verbal hallucinations?
Koenig Thomas, van Swam Claudia, Dierks Thomas, Hubl Daniela, Is gamma band EEG synchronization reduced during auditory driving in schizophrenia patients with auditory verbal hallucinations?, in Schizophrenia research.
Reduced Neuronal Activity in Language-Related Regions After Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy for Auditory Verbal Hallucinations.
Kindler Jochen, Homan Philipp, Jann Kay, Federspiel Andrea, Flury Richard, Hauf Martinus, Strik Werner, Dierks Thomas, Hubl Daniela, Reduced Neuronal Activity in Language-Related Regions After Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy for Auditory Verbal Hallucinations., in Biological psychiatry.

Awards

Title Year
1. Posterpreis DGPPN 2011 2011
Award of the University Hopital of Psychiatry Bern for the best clinical poster 2011
Poster Award of the Swiss Society of Biological Psychiatry 2011
Posteraward at the 7th Annual ECNS / ISNIP Conference 2010
Posteraward Clinical Neuroscience Meeting, Bern, Switzerland 2007

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
146789 Therapeutic response and neurobiological prediction markers in auditory verbal hallucinations 01.07.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)
59077 Investigation of pathophysiological mechanisms and therapeutic possibilities of auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia by fMRIEEG and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). 01.04.2000 Project funding (Div. I-III)

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