Even Related Potentials during the Menstrual Cycle implications for Schizophrenia

Proposal details

Title: Even Related Potentials during the Menstrual Cycle implications for Schizophrenia
Research Area(s): Schizophrenia and Allied Psychoses
Background: Sexual differences are commonly observed in schizophrenia. Men show an earlier age of onset and a preponderance of negative symptoms; women frequently present with coexisting symptoms of depression. Furthermore, schizophrenia symptoms vary according to menstrual cycle phase, with a significant increase in hospital admissions during the premenstrual phase. Some of these differences may be due to the effects of neurosteroids on brain function that have a complex interaction with central brain neurotransmitters implicated in schizophrenia, such as serotonin and dopamine. Identification of changes in brain function across the menstrual cycle (and during menopause) has implications for understanding the aetiology of schizophrenia in women. Event Related Potentials (ERPs) have been used to study brain function in healthy controls across the menstrual cycle and in patients with schizophrenia.
Aims: The current study explores the effect of menstrual phase on controlled attention processing, as measured by P3b and N2b ERP components.
Method: A visual continuous performance (Working memory) task was performed by 125 women at different phases of the menstrual cycle (n=22 menses days 1-3; n=31 days 4-15; n=26 days 16-22; n=21 days 23-25; n=25 days 26+), 52 postmenopausal women and 306 age-matched men.