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Current Radiopharmaceuticals


ISSN (Print): 1874-4710
ISSN (Online): 1874-4729

Research Article

Brain Network Underlying the Improvement of Social Functioning in Schizophrenic Patients After One-year Treatment with Social Skills Training

Author(s): Stelvio Sestini, Rosanna Perone, Sandro Domenichetti, Christian Mazzeo, Veronica Massai, Alessandra Rispoli, Agnese Barbacci, Angela Valtancoli, Antonio Castagnoli and Luigi Mansi

Volume 9, Issue 2, 2016

Page: [150 - 159] Pages: 10

DOI: 10.2174/1874471009999160625110759

Price: $65


Purpose: To assess changes in social and neuro-cognition and regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in schizophrenic patients with psychotic syndrome treated with Social Skill Training (SST).

Methods: 17 patients underwent two high resolution rCBF SPECT at rest before and after a one-year treatment with SST. Patients were assessed using a neuropsychological evaluation (W.A.I.S.-R, T.M.T, Verbal Fluency, W.C.S.T.). SPM8 was used to investigate rCBF changes from the pre- to the post-SST condition and the relationship between rCBF and clinical scores used as covariates of interest.

Results: All patients presented with an improvement in social perception, ability to deal with abstract social conventions, rules and judgments about people (Comprehension and Picture Completion sub-tests) and some neuro-cognitive functions sustaining the process of socially relevant information. The main effect of SST was to produce rCBF increases in precuneus, PCC, superior parietal lobules, PMC, pre-SMA, precentral gyrus, dmPFC, dlPFC, vmPFC, OFC (p<0.0001 uncorrected). The SPM analysis showed that Comprehension was supported by PMC, dmPFC, OFC and vmPFC, while the Picture Completion was supported by PMC and dmPFC (p<0.0001).

Conclusion: SST in schizophrenic patients improves resting neural activity in cortical areas of the amigdala-based and non-amygdala networks of social brain, including dmPFC and vmPFC, and dlPFC, which are known to be part of default mode and task-positive networks and to be implicated in schizophrenia.

Keywords: Default mode network, rCBF, social brain network, social skill training.

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