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Abnormal EEG responses to photic stimulation in schizophrenic patients.


Numerous studies have differentiated schizophrenic patients and normal controls in electroencephalography (EEG) spectral patterns recorded at rest. We replicated the resting EEG spectral differences between these groups and observed significant differences in periodic photic stimuli on the EEG spectra. Drug-free schizophrenic male patients (n = 8, mean age = 23.9) and normal male controls (n = 11, mean age = 24.3) were studied. Eighty seconds of EEG were collected from each subject for each of four experimental conditions: one resting and three photic-driving conditions (2.38, 4.54, and 8.33 Hz). Eye movement and other movement artifacts were minimized by use of an automatic amplitude threshold filter. Although large eye movements could be excluded as confounding factors, the filter could not for certain exclude small eye movements. Subjects were instructed to keep their eyes closed throughout. A significant difference was found between the groups both at rest and following photic stimulation in EEG activity. This result was characterized by increased delta activity and decreased alpha activity in schizophrenic patients at rest. The EEG activity following the photic driving also differentiated the groups. Schizophrenic patients had decreased sensitivity to the photic stimulation in the alpha range for spectra derived from both fundamental and harmonic analysis.

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