Modeling the Effects of Schizophrenia on Working Memory in a MATLAB GUI

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Bumbaca, Brandon
Voit, Eberhard O.
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Enormous recent advances in easily accessible computational power have increased the significance and usage of mathematical models in biology. The GUI proposed in this paper utilizes one such model created by Qi et al. (2016) to model the effects of schizophrenia, a devastating psychiatric disorder, on working memory. Working memory is a type of short term memory concerned with the planning and execution of immediate behavior and actions. The model by Qi et al. utilizes the format of a neurotransmitter interaction matrix, combined with a balancing scheme among these neurotransmitters. It permits the characterization not only of neurochemical details of schizophrenia, but also of various perturbations on working memory, and accurately predicts qualitative changes in the system, due to disease or pharmaceutical interventions. The GUI provides a useful simulation tool for researchers, clinicians, psychiatrists, medical students, and caregivers, and can be used to visualize the consequences of schizophrenia, as well as other diseases or drugs that affect working memory. The mobile matrix output is a visual appealing description of these effects and may be used to explain disease perturbations to patients and families.
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