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Biol Psychiatry. 2000 Jun 1;47(11):962-8.

Differential preservation of cognitive functions in geriatric patients with lifelong chronic schizophrenia: less impairment in reading compared with other skill areas.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.



Our study examined the differential performance of cognitive skills in geriatric, cognitively impaired schizophrenic patients (n = 165) with a lengthy course of institutional stay and a poor overall functional outcome. Their relative deficits were compared with a sample of healthy elderly individuals.


Schizophrenic patients were matched one-to-one with healthy individuals of the same age and education and compared on a number of measures of cognitive functioning. The schizophrenic patients' old-learning performance was also compared with their educational level only.


Mini-Mental State Examination (Folstein et al 1975) scores of the patients were in the moderately demented range (M = 20.36), and these patients underperformed healthy control subjects by more than 1 to slightly less than 3 standard deviations on measures of memory, praxis, and verbal skills. Wide Range Achievement Test-Revised word-recognition reading scores were found to be at the 10th-grade level, although the patients on average had completed 11 years of formal education.


These results suggest that even in schizophrenic patients with significant cognitive impairment, reading scores are relatively consistent with educational attainment. These data indicate that poor performance on measures of cognitive functioning in this population does not necessarily occur on measures of old learning.

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