News Medical - Biological basis for visual hallucinations identified

By Eleanor McDermid, Senior medwireNews Reporter

Visual hallucinations in patients with schizophrenia may be caused by hyperconnectivity in a specific area of the brain, say researchers.

“While [visual hallucinations] are generally neglected in clinical assessments in this population, functional connectivity data provide biological support for their distressing reality”, says the team, led by Judith Ford (San Francisco VA Medical Center, California, USA).

Ford and colleagues studied 180 schizophrenia patients, and found that the 45 who had experienced visual hallucinations in the month prior to brain imaging had hyperconnectivity between the amygdala and the visual cortex, relative to 178 mentally healthy controls matched for age, gender, handedness and ethnicity.