Viher, Petra; Stegmayer, Katharina; Vanbellingen, Tim; Federspiel, Andrea; Strik, Werner; Wiest, Roland; Bohlhalter, Stephan; Walther, Sebastian (19 March 2015). Deficit actual tool use in schizophrenia is linked to structural alterations in key regions of planning and executing of tool use and connecting fibers (Unpublished). In: 59. wissenschaftliche Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für klinische Neurophysiologie und funktionelle Bildgebung. Tübingen, Deutschland. 18.03.-21.03.2015.
Introduction: Schizophrenia patients frequently suffer from complex motor abnormalities including fine and gross motor disturbances, abnormal involuntary movements, neurological soft signs and parkinsonism. These symptoms occur early in the course of the disease, continue in chronic patients and may deteriorate with antipsychotic medication. Furthermore gesture performance is impaired in patients, including the pantomime of tool use. Whether schizophrenia patients would show difficulties of actual tool use has not yet been investigated. Human tool use is complex and relies on a network of distinct and distant brain areas. We therefore aim to test if schizophrenia patients had difficulties in tool use and to assess associations with structural brain imaging using voxel based morphometry (VBM) and tract based spatial statistics (TBSS). Methode: In total, 44 patients with schizophrenia (DSM-5 criteria; 59% men, mean age 38) underwent structural MR imaging and performed the Tool-Use test. The test examines the use of a scoop and a hammer in three conditions: pantomime (without the tool), demonstration (with the tool) and actual use (with a recipient object). T1-weighted images were processed using SPM8 and DTI-data using FSL TBSS routines. To assess structural alterations of impaired tool use we first compared gray matter (GM) volume in VBM and white matter (WM) integrity in TBSS data of patients with and without difficulties of actual tool use. Next we explored correlations of Tool use scores and VBM and TBSS data. Group comparisons were family wise error corrected for multiple tests. Correlations were uncorrected (p < 0.001) with a minimum cluster threshold of 17 voxels (equivalent to a map-wise false positive rate of alpha < 0.0001 using a Monte Carlo procedure). Results: Tool use was impaired in schizophrenia (43.2% pantomime, 11.6% demonstration, 11.6% use). Impairment was related to reduced GM volume and WM integrity. Whole brain analyses detected an effect in the SMA in group analysis. Correlations of tool use scores and brain structure revealed alterations in brain areas of the dorso-dorsal pathway (superior occipital gyrus, superior parietal lobule, and dorsal premotor area) and the ventro-dorsal pathways (middle occipital gyrus, inferior parietal lobule) the action network, as well as the insula and the left hippocampus. Furthermore, significant correlations within connecting fiber tracts - particularly alterations within the bilateral corona radiata superior and anterior as well as the corpus callosum -were associated with Tool use performance. Conclusions: Tool use performance was impaired in schizophrenia, which was associated with reduced GM volume in the action network. Our results are in line with reports of impaired tool use in patients with brain lesions particularly of the dorso-dorsal and ventro-dorsal stream of the action network. In addition an effect of tool use on WM integrity was shown within fiber tracts connecting regions important for planning and executing tool use. Furthermore, hippocampus is part of a brain system responsible for spatial memory and navigation.The results suggest that structural brain alterations in the common praxis network contribute to impaired tool use in schizophrenia.