Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland' movie helps to distinguish psychotic patients from controls in a new study.
Finnish researchers using fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) have found that even first-episode psychotic patients process information differently from a control group. To ensure both groups experienced the same brain stimuli, the measurements were taken while the subjects watched a movie, 'Alice in Wonderland.'
In the study, patients and controls were scanned while watching the movie 'Alice in Wonderland,' which guaranteed that they were receiving the same information-rich stimulus. The researchers found that significant differences could be seen in the precuneus region of the brain, which is an area associated with memory, visuospatial awareness, self-awareness and aspects of consciousness.
Lead researcher Eva Rikandi said that in this work, they attempted to determine whether a person is a first-episode psychosis patient or a healthy control subject just by looking at their brain activity recorded during movie viewing. Rikandi added that they found that by monitoring activity in a region known as the precuneus, they were able to distinguish patients from control subjects especially well.
This would mean that the precuneus, a central hub for the integration of self- and episodic-memory-related information, plays an important role in this kind of information processing of psychotic patients. She continued that the researchers hope that this approach can feed into earlier screening and better diagnosis of at-risk populations.