Regional brain metabolism was measured in normal subjects and patients with schizophrenia while they performed an auditory discrimination task designed to emphasize sustained attention. A direct relationship was found in the normal subjects between metabolic rate in the middle prefrontal cortex and accuracy of performance. The metabolic rate in the middle prefrontal cortex of patients with schizophrenia, even those who performed as well as normals, was found to be significantly lower than normal and unrelated to performance. The findings point to a role of the mid-prefrontal region in sustained attention and to dysfunction of this region in schizophrenia.
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