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Thursday 05 October 2006

Negative symptoms: A review of schizophrenia, melancholic depression and Parkinson's disease.

By: Winograd-Gurvich C, Fitzgerald PB, Georgiou-Karistianis N, Bradshaw JL, White

Negative symptoms generally refer to a reduction in normal functioning. In schizophrenia they encompass apathy, anhedonia, flat affect, avolition, social withdrawal and, on some accounts, psychomotor retardation.

Negative symptoms have been identified in other psychiatric disorders, including melancholic depression, and also in neurological disorders, such Parkinson's disease. Achieving a better understanding of negative symptoms constitutes a priority in mental health. Primarily, negative symptoms represent an unrelenting, intractable and disabling feature for patients, often amounting to a severe burden on families, carers and the patients themselves. Identifying and understanding subgroups within disorders may also contribute to the clinical care and scientific understanding of the pathophysiology of these disorders. The purpose of this paper is to review the current literature on negative symptoms in schizophrenia and explore the idea that negative symptoms may play an important role not only in other psychiatric disorders such as melancholic depression, but also in neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease. In each disorder negative symptoms manifest with similar motor and cognitive impairments and are associated with comparable neuropathological and biochemical findings, possibly reflecting analogous impairments in the functioning of frontostriatal-limbic circuits.

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