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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2000 Feb;2(1):62-6.

New perspectives on schizotypal personality disorder.

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  • 1Psychiatry Service 116A, Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 130 West Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, NY 10468, USA.


Schizotypal personality disorder is the prototype of the schizophrenia-related personality disorders and has been demonstrated to have phenomenologic, biologic, treatment, and outcome characteristics similar to those of schizophrenic patients. These studies suggest that patients with schizotypal personality disorder, like schizophrenic patients, show cognitive impairment, but the impairment is more focal and involves primarily working memory, verbal learning, and sustained attention rather than generalized intellectual deficits. Schizotypal patients, like schizophrenic patients show reductions in temporal lobe volume, but seem to be spared the frontal volume reductions found in some studies of schizophrenic patients and in our laboratory. Better frontal "buffering" may prevent the more severe cognitive and social deterioration associated with schizophrenia. Furthermore, schizotypal patients appear to show less susceptibility to psychotic symptoms, in part perhaps because of better buffered subcortical dopaminergic activity as suggested by recent data from a SPECT/amphetamine paradigm, glucose metabolic study, and structural studies of basal ganglia. These findings are discussed in terms of a model of schizotypal personality disorder where schizotypal patients have better capacity for compensatory buffering in lateral and subcortical brain regions, protecting them from the more severe symptoms of chronic schizophrenia.

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