Neuropsychopharmacology of auditory hallucinations: Insights from pharmacological MRI and perspectives for future research

Research Area: Research Year: 2013
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: Johnsen, Erik; Hugdahl, Kenneth; Fusar-Poli, Paolo; Kroken, Rune A.; Kompus, Kristiina
Experiencing auditory verbal hallucinations is a prominent symptom in schizophrenia that also occurs in subjects at enhanced risk for psychosis and in the general population. Drug treatment of auditory hallucinations is challenging, because the current understanding is limited with respect to the neural mechanisms involved, as well as how CNS drugs, such as antipsychotics, influence the subjective experience and neurophysiology of hallucinations. In this article, the authors review studies of the effect of antipsychotic medication on brain activation as measured with functional MRI in patients with auditory verbal hallucinations. First, the authors examine the neural correlates of ongoing auditory hallucinations. Then, the authors critically discuss studies addressing the antipsychotic effect on the neural correlates of complex cognitive tasks. Current evidence suggests that blood oxygen level-dependant effects of antipsychotic drugs reflect specific, regional effects but studies on the neuropharmacology of auditory hallucinations are scarce. Future directions for pharmacological neuroimaging of auditory hallucinations are discussed.
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