Poster B108, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
White matter integrity predicts cognitive training-induced improvements in attention and executive functioning in schizophrenia
Karuna Subramaniam1, Jeevit Gill1, Melissa Fisher2, Pratik Mukherjee1, Srikantan Nagarajan1, Sophia Vinogradov2; 1University of California San Francisco, 2University of Minnesota
Schizophrenia (SZ) is considered a disorder of connectivity particularly in terms of the white matter architecture connecting grey matter regions, and is associated with deficits in attention/vigilance, learning/memory, and executive functioning. However, the functional significance and treatment implications of this reduced white matter integrity are unknown. Here, we examined patterns of white matter connectivity in SZ, and examined whether microstructural white matter integrity in SZ predicted cognitive gains induced by intensive cognitive training. We performed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in 48 SZ patients and 28 healthy control (HC) participants at baseline, and then assigned patients to 70 hours of cognitive training. Compared with HC participants, SZ patients showed reduced white matter integrity, indexed by fractional anisotropy (FA) metrics, in several regions including anterior and posterior corona radiata, retrolenticular internal capsules, posterior thalamic radiations, superior longitudinal fasciculus, sagittal stratum, and the corpus callosum. After 70 hours of training, SZ patients showed significant improvements in attention/vigilance (p=.01) and executive functioning (p=.003). Interestingly, training-induced improvements in attention and executive functioning in SZ patients were associated with better FA white matter integrity in areas where no significant FA reductions were seen at baseline when compared to HC subjects. Specifically, white matter integrity in right fronto-occipital fasciculus predicted training-induced improvements in attention/vigilance, while white matter integrity in right corticospinal tract and bilateral medial lemnisci predicted training-induced improvements in executive functioning. These results suggest that preserved integrity of white matter tracts may indicate which patients will show a positive response to intensive cognitive training in SZ.
Topic Area: NEUROANATOMY