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Schizophr Res. 2004 May 1;68(1):49-63.

Pretreatment and longitudinal studies of neuropsychological deficits in antipsychotic-naïve patients with schizophrenia.

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  • 1Center for Cognitive Medicine, Department of Psychiatry (M/C 913), University of Illinois at Chicago, 912 South Wood Street, Suite 235, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


The early course of neuropsychological dysfunction in schizophrenia and the impact of treatment on these deficits need to be better specified. A sample of 45 patients with schizophrenia underwent five neuropsychological evaluations from prior to treatment with antipsychotic treatment through a 2-year follow-up period. A comparison sample of 33 matched healthy individuals underwent neuropsychological evaluations at similar time points. At baseline, a generalized deficit across cognitive domains was evident for the schizophrenia sample. After 6 weeks of treatment, patients showed modest improvements in visual memory and visual perception, but a decline in verbal memory. Verbal memory performance returned to baseline levels by the 6-month follow-up while deficits in other neuropsychological domains persisted throughout the 2-year period. Relatively static and generalized neuropsychological dysfunction, evident from illness onset, is consistent with neurodevelopmental rather than neurodegenerative models of schizophrenia.

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