Background: Disturbed functional connectivity is assumed to underlie neurocognitive deficits in patients with schizophrenia. As neurocognitive deficits are already present in the high-risk state, identification of the neural networks involved in this core feature of schizophrenia is essential to our understanding of the disorder. Resting-state studies enable such investigations, while at the same time avoiding the known confounder of impaired task performance in patients. The aim of the present study was to investigate EEG resting-state connectivity in high-risk individuals (HR) compared to first episode patients with schizophrenia (SZ) and to healthy controls (HC), and its association with cognitive deficits. Methods: 64-channel resting-state EEG recordings (eyes closed) were obtained for 28 HR, 19 stable SZ, and 23 HC, matched for age, education, and parental education. The imaginary coherence-based multivariate interaction measure (MIM) was used as a measure of connectivity across 80 cortical regions and six frequency bands. Mean connectivity at each region was compared across groups using the non-parametric randomization approach. Additionally, the network-based statistic was applied to identify affected networks in patients. Results: SZ displayed increased theta-band resting-state MIM connectivity across midline, sensorimotor, orbitofrontal regions and the left temporoparietal junction. HR displayed intermediate theta-band connectivity patterns that did not differ from either SZ or HC. Mean theta-band connectivity within the above network partially mediated verbal memory deficits in SZ and HR. Conclusions: Aberrant theta-band connectivity may represent a trait characteristic of schizophrenia associated with neurocognitive deficits. As such, it might constitute a promising target for novel treatment applications.
- Default mode network
- Multivariate interaction measure