Aberrant prefrontal beta oscillations predict episodic memory encoding deficits in schizophrenia

Federica Meconi, Simon Hanslmayr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Verbal episodic memory is one of the core cognitive functions affected in patients with schizophrenia (SZ). Although this verbal memory impairment in SZ is a well-known finding, our understanding about its underlying neurophysiological mechanisms is rather scarce. Here we address this issue by recording brain oscillations during a memory task in a sample of healthy controls and patients with SZ. Brain oscillations represent spectral fingerprints of specific neurocognitive operations and are therefore a promising tool to identify neurocognitive mechanisms that are affected by SZ. Healthy controls showed a prominent suppression of left prefrontal beta oscillatory activity during successful memory formation, which replicates several previous oscillatory memory studies. In contrast, patients failed to exhibit such a left prefrontal beta power suppression. Utilizing a new topographical pattern similarity approach, we further demonstrate that the degree of similarity between a patient’s beta power decrease to that of the controls reliably predicted memory performance. This relationship between beta power decreases and memory was such that the patients’ memory performance improved as they showed a more similar topographical beta desynchronization pattern compared to that of healthy controls. Together, these findings support left prefrontal beta desynchronization as the spectral fingerprint of verbal episodic memory formation, likely indicating deep semantic processing of verbal material. These findings also demonstrate that left prefrontal beta power suppression (or lack thereof) during memory encoding are a reliable biomarker for the observed encoding impairments in SZ in verbal memory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-505
Number of pages7
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Early online date30 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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