Schizophrenia and cognitive dysmetria: a positron-emission tomography study of dysfunctional prefrontal-thalamic-cerebellar circuitry.
Patients suffering from schizophrenia display subtle cognitive abnormalities that may reflect a difficulty in rapidly coordinating the steps that occur in a variety of mental activities. Working interactively with the prefrontal cortex, the cerebellum may play a role in coordinating both motor and cognitive performance. This positron-emission tomography study suggests the presence of a prefrontal-thalamic-cerebellar network that is activated when normal subjects recall complex narrative material, but is dysfunctional in schizophrenic patients when they perform the same task. These results support a role for the cerebellum in cognitive functions and suggest that patients with schizophrenia may suffer from a "cognitive dysmetria" due to dysfunctional prefrontal-thalamic-cerebellar circuitry.