Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate whether magnetoencephalographic oscillations underlying working memory dysfunction in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) are related to psychopathological disturbance in patients with schizophrenia-like psychosis of epilepsy (SLPE).
Methods: Twelve patients with SLPE and 14 non-psychotic epilepsy controls participated in this study. Magnetoencephalography was recorded while patients performed a visual working memory (WM) task. Psychopathology was assessed using a four-factor structure of the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, and regression analyses were carried out to examine the relative impact of severity of psychopathology on WM-induced activation of the DLPFC.
Results: We found that activation of the WM-compromising DLPFC, as indicated by increased alpha desynchronization in patients with SLPE compared with their non-psychotic counterparts, showed a positive linear correlation with disorganization symptom scores. This association remained significant after controlling for confounding factors, including age, task performance, IQ, and duration of psychosis.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that abnormal activation in prefrontal areas engaged during working memory may be critical to domains of psychopathology, in particular disorganized thought-processing in patients with SLPE.