Transcript of the Dr. Andreasen Interview
Full Transcript
Edited from interview Dec. 2001
 
Page 9
 

ANDREASEN:
"Stolen Lives, Stolen Minds"

ANDREASEN:
There was this PBS video that I interviewed him for and did a lot of work with "Stolen Lives, Stolen Minds" so I got to know him through that as well.

MORGAN:
Can you give us a non-technical overview of the research that you were doing?

ANDREASEN:
Well, the, I would say the main emphasis of our research is to take this very complicated clinical presentation that people with schizophrenia have and understand its mechanisms. By the complicated clinical presentation I mean the fact that people with schizophrenia hear voices which is an abnormality in perception, they have misinterpretations of what's happening around them which are delusions, they have a loss of emotion, just a long laundry list of different kinds of symptoms that are not necessarily related to one another.

ANDREASEN:
They affect perception, inference, emotion, language, and so you take that complicated picture and you ask yourself the question, what could explain such a diversity of symptoms in people with this illness schizophrenia? So, our big push is to answer that question and to drive to understand what the mechanisms are in the brain and for that reason we use all these complex imaging tools like Positron Emission Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. We do a lot of work with experimental cognitive assessments to see how their minds and brains actually solve problems and then the other big link that we eventually want to make is, how these abnormalities that we've seen with imaging are caused at an even deeper level by genes and cells because what our research up to this point has shown is that people with schizophrenia probably have this diversity of symptoms because their brains didn't get wired quite right.

ANDREASEN:
They have what we call circuits in the brain or connections between regions in the brain that just aren't functioning the way yours are or mine are and we've demonstrated that over and over with our imaging studies. So, once you know that there's something that's gone wrong, a true fragmenting of the brain that leads to this fragmenting of the mind or schizophrenia, once you know that then you want to know, how did that fragmenting in the brain arise.

ANDREASEN:
That's one of the reasons we're so interested in neural development. We're focusing more and more on studying the brain in adolescence with schizophrenia and we're focusing more and more on trying to understand how differences in genes or in gene expression effects brain growth and development and ultimately, particularly in this crucial adolescent period.

MORGAN:
What do you actually see with the imaging?

 << previous page       next page >>