Schizophrenia, in dictionary definition is a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation. This disorder affects attention in various ways. From not being able to focus on one particular thing to constantly being distracted at the same time. Attention and vigilance tests were done in a number of different ways to evaluate attention. When finding all the various ways attention is affected in schizophrenia, I stumbled upon some research that had been done comparing schizophrenia to ADD. I learned some interesting things about the two. What I came to learn first was a gist of how schizophrenia works in the brain, with actual insight and direct quotes from schizophrenic patients. Barr explained that the inhibiting and facilitating properties of attention were both equally disturbed it felt contradictory to acknowledge that it is equally as hard to pay attention as it is to get distracted.
It was crazy to think that someone’s attention can be conflicted like that. When a study/comparison on ADD and Schizophrenia was done, schizophrenic patients described the feeling as If I am somewhere where there is a lot going on, I am swinging from thing to another instead of concentrating on one thing and getting it done or Everything seems to grip my attention although I am not particularlyinterested in anything (BARR, WILLIAM B). Alongside this information, I also learned that there was distinction between early onset schizophrenia and the youth with ADD.I also learned attentional dysfunction is not specific to ADD, and is actually found almost all psychopathology, and that ADD and schizophrenia carry a unique relationship during adulthood. In a retrospective study, It showed that adults with schizophrenia showed signs of ADD when they were younger. During a virtual factory setting attention test, an interesting take on assessing schizophrenic patient’s attention took place. What they did was tell patients to identify objects on a conveyor belt in a simulated real world setting.
Evaluations were done on affiliations between task performance and structural brain connectivity using this Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI). Through this DTI Test, selective attention (SA), divided attention (DA), and attentional shift (ASh) were looked at. When looking at DA, schizophrenic patients struggled more in this area than the healthy patients. Which to me was not surprising, because you would assume that of course the schizophrenic patient would struggle more in attention, but to my surprise it’s only certain aspects of attention. What I came to find out was that there was no difference in SA. This got me thinking, are we able to improve those certain aspects of attention with brain exercises? And will doing this show faster improvement in schizophrenic patients?Low scores in DA and ASh were particularly notable in schizophrenic patients.
Latter seems to be correlated with lack in cognition and motivation, which are central to schizophrenia. They found that visual tasks seem to be an appropriate and correct way of evaluating attention in ways that are rare and that are not detected by standard measures.Sches journal raised the question on whether lack in attention/vigilance can be persistently and accurately measures across sites with variating factors such as demographic, clinical, and functional characteristics. I believe that Siddiqui would argue that there is reliable and accurate ways of measuring attention judging by how confident the virtual test went for them was and how when they finished testing they confidently stated they believe it asses attention in ways that are not standardly measured.
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