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Insular Dysfunction in People at Risk for Psychotic Disorders

1 Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neurosciences and Sense Organs, University “A. Moro”, 70121, Bari, Italy;
2 Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, “G. D'Annunzio” University, Chieti-Pescara, 66100, Italy;
3 National Health Trust, Department of Mental Health, 66100 Chieti, Italy

Special Issues: What function does the anterior insula play in human cognition?

In response to the review article written by Pavuluri and May [1] and to the original article by Tomasino et al [2] we will comment the recent neuroimaging findings of insular dysfunctions in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorders, focusing on people at genetic risk for developing psychotic symptoms. A disrupted insular functioning was reported in several studies, even though the results were not univocal with respect to the direction of the effect (some studies reported a reduced activation, other an augmented activation) and the lateralization of the observed alterations (left, right or bilateral). We will conclude that an altered function of the insula during both cognitive and emotional task may be a candidate vulnerability marker for psychotic disorders.
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