Studies of Frontal Lobe Brain Functioning in Schizophrenia

Conditions Phase Intervention Type


Ages Eligible for Study
18 years to 90 years
Genders Eligible for Study


Neuropsychology, Cerebral Blood Flow, Cognitive Disorders, Prefrontal Cortex, Hormones, Psychosis, Neuroimaging, Brain Scan, Healthy Volunteers, and Schizophrenia


National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Inclusion Criteria

Exclusion Criteria

Participants in this study will reflect the diversity of the community. No one will be
excluded or discriminated against on the grounds of race, gender, religion or ethnic
background. Every attempt will be made to include women and minorities in the study
population. Children will not be studied because of radiation exposure limits on this

Normal control subjects will be recruited through the NIH normal volunteer program and
through advertisement in the community and primarily through the "Genetic Study" under
protocol 95-M-0150. An additional control group of non-schizophrenic siblings of patients
with schizophrenia will also be recruited (from the community and protocol 95-M-0150, A
Neurobiological Investigation of Patients with Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders and Their
Siblings). Control subjects will be matched to the patient groups by age, sex, and
handedness. Control subjects with history of psychiatric or neurologic disorders or medical
illnesses or surgeries that might have relevance to the investigation of brain physiology
will be excluded. Normal subjects taking medications with relevance to cerebral blood flow
and metabolism will be excluded from study.

Patients with schizophrenia will be recruited from the inpatient population of the NIMH
Wards at the NIH Clinical Center and the sibling study protocol 95-M-0150. Diagnoses will
be made by the NIMH clinical staff in accordance with DSM-IV(R). Patients with history of
neurological illness other than those of interest to the study, or other medical illness or
surgery that might have impact on the study of brain physiology, will be excluded.
Inpatients on the NIMH Schizophrenia Ward who have signed protocol 89-MH-160 "Inpatient
Evaluation of Neuropsychiatric Patients) will be studied when they have been withdrawn from
all medications for two to four weeks. They will also be studied when they are stabilized
on medication; however, no treatment decisions, for inpatients or outpatients, will be
based upon this study. All inpatients will be carefully monitored on the NIMH/NIH wards as
per protocol 89-MH-160.

Additional neuropsychiatric patients (such as those with affective disorder, Parkinson's
Disease, special genetic disorders (e.g. William's Syndrome), and other neuropsychiatric
disorders) will be recruited from the medical community, from NIH inpatient and outpatient
services, and through the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). Patients will be
identified by the presence of typical symptoms and signs elicited by history and
examination. Diagnoses will conform to accepted diagnostic guidelines where applicable.
Such patients will be excluded from study for 1) history of psychiatric or neurologic
disorders other than those under investigation, 2) medical illnesses or surgeries that
might have relevance to the investigation of brain physiology, 3) current medications that
are not under investigation and that have relevance to cerebral blood flow and metabolism,
and 4) IQ less than 70. Outpatients may be admitted overnight if necessary or otherwise
applicable (e.g. those from out of town).

No cognitively impaired nonschizophrenic subjects are studied in this protocol. For
Parkinsons Disease patients, information is obtained from referring physicians, from NIH
medical records for participants already enrolled in the NIH system, and by phone from the
potential participant. Further assessment is carried out by a neurologist or psychiatrist
upon arrival at the NIH. For Williams syndrome patients, IQ testing is done off-site by a
certified clinical neuropsychologist who refers patients for our study and who has followed
large numbers of these rare individuals for years.

Detailed Description

The purpose of this study is to use brain imaging technology to investigate the role of the frontal lobe of the brain in the thinking of individuals with schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders and healthy volunteers. Participants in this study will undergo a positron emission tomography (PET) scan of the brain while performing neuropsychological tests. Some of the tests involve cognitive operations that depend upon the frontal cortex. Interactions between frontal lobe activation, cognitive behavior, and neuropharmacology will be assessed by measuring regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during treatment with drugs that may affect frontal lobe physiology.

Contacts and Locations

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00001258

Overall Contact

Karen F Berman, M.D.
(301) 496-7603

Overall Contact Backup

Jasmin Czarapata, Ph.D.
(301) 435-7645


  • National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
    Bethesda, Maryland United States

    Status: Recruiting

    Contact info E. Anne Riley, Ph.D.