Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2015 Apr;13(1):36-47. 10.9758/cpn.2015.13.1.36.

Understanding Schizophrenia as a Disorder of Consciousness: Biological Correlates and Translational Implications from Quantum Theory Perspectives

  • 1The Schizophrenia Clinic, Department of Psychiatry and Translational Psychiatry Laboratory, Neurobiology Research Centre, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India.


From neurophenomenological perspectives, schizophrenia has been conceptualized as "a disorder with heterogeneous manifestations that can be integrally understood to involve fundamental perturbations in consciousness". While these theoretical constructs based on consciousness facilitate understanding the 'gestalt' of schizophrenia, systematic research to unravel translational implications of these models is warranted. To address this, one needs to begin with exploration of plausible biological underpinnings of "perturbed consciousness" in schizophrenia. In this context, an attractive proposition to understand the biology of consciousness is "the orchestrated object reduction (Orch-OR) theory" which invokes quantum processes in the microtubules of neurons. The Orch-OR model is particularly important for understanding schizophrenia especially due to the shared 'scaffold' of microtubules. The initial sections of this review focus on the compelling evidence to support the view that "schizophrenia is a disorder of consciousness" through critical summary of the studies that have demonstrated self-abnormalities, aberrant time perception as well as dysfunctional intentional binding in this disorder. Subsequently, these findings are linked with 'Orch-OR theory' through the research evidence for aberrant neural oscillations as well as microtubule abnormalities observed in schizophrenia. Further sections emphasize the applicability and translational implications of Orch-OR theory in the context of schizophrenia and elucidate the relevance of quantum biology to understand the origins of this puzzling disorder as "fundamental disturbances in consciousness".


Schizophrenia; Consciousness; Quantum theory; Microtubules
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