Schizophrenia is characterized by three partially overlapping domains of symptoms: positive, negative and disorganized. With the advent of neuroimaging techniques, attempts have been made to correlate symptoms of schizophrenia with brain structure and function in order to better characterize its pathophysiology. The severity of delusions and hallucinations in schizophrenia has previously been correlated with abnormality of temporal and frontal lobes and with subcortical structures like the basal ganglia. Very few studies have involved the claustrum, probably because the function of this region of the brain is not well understood. One hypothesis is that the claustrum acts as a cross-modal integration center that binds different sensory inputs into a unitary perception. A similar theory of the function of the claustrum posits that this brain region is involved in the timing and coordination of cortical activity resulting ultimately in perceptual experience. Disruption of the binding or synchronization of sensory, cognitive and motor information could contribute to delusions and hallucinations in schizophrenia patients. In this chapter we review the scientific reports on the relationship between the claustrum and symptoms of schizophrenia, and also discuss our own brain imaging study into the possible link between the severity of delusions in the disease and structural abnormalities in the claustrum. In view of the above hypotheses on the function of the claustrum, we argue that delusions in schizophrenia (mostly those related to the integrity of the 'self') could be explained in the context of the theory that the claustrum is a brain structure involved in consciousness.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||The Claustrum|
|Subtitle of host publication||Structural, Functional, and Clinical Neuroscience|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - Jan 2014|
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