London: Psychotic symptoms such as voices in the head or hallucinations experienced by people with schizophrenia could be caused by a faulty `switch` within the brain, scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have found. The University of Nottingham researchers demonstrated that the severity of symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations which are typical in patients with the psychiatric disorder is caused by a disconnection between two important regions in the brain - the insula and the lateral frontal cortex. The breakthrough could form the basis for better, more targeted treatments for schizophrenia with fewer side effects, researchers said. The four-year study, led by Professor Peter Liddle and Dr Lena Palaniyappan in the University`s Division of Psychiatry and based in the Institute of Mental Health, centred on the insula region, a segregated `island` buried deep within the brain, which is responsible for seamless switching between inner and outer world. "In our daily life, we constantly switch between our inner, private world and the outer, objective world. This switching action is enabled by the connections between the insula and frontal cortex. This switch process appears to be disrupted in patients with schizophrenia," said Palaniyappan.
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