April 13, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008
The British Journal of Psychiatry presented a study conducted by Yale School of Medicine regarding the tendency to extract a meaningful message from meaningless noise. The study implies that, over time, this ability could produce a 'matrix of unreality' that triggers the initial psychotic phase of schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. The study implies that this ability could be an early sign of schizophrenia.

The study consisted of a measly 43 participants who had already been diagnosed with prodromal symptoms such as social withdrawal, mild perceptual alterations or misinterpretation of social cues.

A medication called olanzapine was used in this study. It is also known as zyprexa, an atypical antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Participants were assessed for up to two years after being randomly assigned to either this medication or a placebo.

The participants listened to a reading of a text through headphones, but this text was read by six different people at the same time. The overlap of the words made comprehension virtually impossible. The only words detected with any kind of consistency were increase, children, A-OK, and Republican.

"Eighty percent of the participants who 'heard' phrases of four or more words in length went on to develop a schizophrenia-related illness during times that they were not taking olanzapine, said the lead author, Ralph Hoffman, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry. In contrast, only six percent of those in the study converted to schizophrenia-related illness if the phrases 'heard' were less than three words in length." – Article

Clearly this is not sufficient research to conclusively report the effectiveness of this type of screening tool, but it’s an interesting attempt. How long could it be until we are using simple white noise to render a diagnosis.



Detect anything meaningful?

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7 comments

7 comments:

Chato B. Stewart said...

OMG -OH, my god, I fell for it, I sat here with head phones on, I thought i heard the word "run" over and over again, but now i realize it was no doubt my subconscious telling me this was a joke. I jumped when it flat lined...lol

Good one.

I wanted to see if you wanted to blog about my site too. http://www.mentalhealthhumor.com
it's a little project i'm working on. If you like it, and that is a big "IF" an you want I could send you some of the cartoons to use for your blog.

LOL- I would have e-mailed you this but I could not find your address... sorry for being so self-serving in my comment... :)

meg said...

Hi, chato. Interesting site you have there. Although this blog is generally serious, if ever I'm looking for some humour I'll let you know. Thanks for stopping by!

Ray Gratzner said...

What happens to people with schizophrenia, if the meditate? Well this occurred to my mind, because meditation will sharpen all your senses, including hearing.

meg said...

hey ray, that's a good question. I'm not exactly sold on this concept, but if meditation facilitates your ability to decipher stuff like this it would obviously lead to many misdiagnoses.

Loretta said...

If this is the case, that smaller brains mean significant possibilities, would it be better to know this ahead of time? Part of a routine screening? Then steps might be taken over the course of years to see if it can be influenced. Just thinking "out loud."

Herpes said...

The video is awesome,thanks for sharing.

meg said...

Loretta, I think you might be commenting on the fact that smaller brains are linked to alzheimer's disease and if so, I agree that this theory will definitely be an asset for early diagnosis and treatment.

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