Neuroscience and Psychiatry
March 2016

Low-Frequency Brain Oscillations in Schizophrenia

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Biology and Volen Center for Complex Systems, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

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JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(3):298-299. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2320

Understanding the brain networks that produce the symptoms of schizophrenia is a major goal of modern neuroscience. There is increasing evidence that brain function depends critically on oscillations, and it has therefore been of interest to determine whether the oscillatory properties of the brain are abnormal in schizophrenic patients. There is now considerable evidence that this is the case; indeed, both gamma frequency oscillations (30-80 Hz) and low-frequency oscillations (delta oscillations of 1-4 Hz and theta oscillations of 5-10 Hz) in the electroencephalogram (EEG) show well-replicated abnormalities but with different relationships to the disease state. A reduction in task-evoked gamma power is present in unaffected relatives of schizophrenic patients and may therefore be an endophenotype of the disease, but not a direct cause. In contrast, the increased power of resting delta oscillations is present only when the disease is present and may therefore be directly causal.1,2

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