Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 24144956.
Neuropsychologia 2014 Jan;53:187-96
Patients with schizophrenia suffer from perceptual visual deficits. It remains unclear whether those deficits result from an isolated impairment of a localized brain process or from a more diffuse long-range dysconnectivity within the visual system. We aimed to explore, with a reading paradigm, the functioning of both ventral and dorsal visual pathways and their interaction in schizophrenia. Patients with schizophrenia and control subjects were studied using event-related functional MRI (fMRI) while reading words that were progressively degraded through word rotation or letter spacing. Reading intact or minimally degraded single words involves mainly the ventral visual pathway. Conversely, reading in non-optimal conditions involves both the ventral and the dorsal pathway. The reading paradigm thus allowed us to study the functioning of both pathways and their interaction. Behaviourally, patients with schizophrenia were selectively impaired at reading highly degraded words. While fMRI activation level was not different between patients and controls, functional connectivity between the ventral and dorsal visual pathways increased with word degradation in control subjects, but not in patients. Moreover, there was a negative correlation between the patients’ behavioural sensitivity to stimulus degradation and dorso-ventral connectivity. This study suggests that perceptual visual deficits in schizophrenia could be related to dysconnectivity between dorsal and ventral visual pathways.