In bilingual individuals, schizophrenia symptoms may show up in language

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Speech impairments in bilingual individuals could teach us more about the development of schizophrenia, said researchers at the 27th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress.

As Medscape Medical News reports, markers of verbal fluency were seen more in schizophrenic individuals speaking in their first language than in their second.

"We found that symptoms of schizophrenia were mostly represented in the second language," Dr. Daria Smirnova, lead study author, told Medscape.

The study included 60 Russian immigrants in Israel with schizophrenia.

The 'language of health'

According to the researchers, others studies have shown that immigration can worsen psychosis symptoms in people with schizophrenia.

Results of the current study compound the idea that language processing and speech therapy might be helpful techniques for bilingual schizophrenia patients.

By training patients to construct more complete sentences in their second language, they would use both the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

"We could include language remediation to cognitive remediation techniques so that we could teach our patients, basically, the language of health," Dr. Smirnova said. "Language-oriented techniques could possibly influence the neural zones in the left hemisphere of the brain."

Source: Medscape Medical News