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Trends Cogn Sci. 2006 Apr;10(4):167-74. Epub 2006 Mar 10.

Schizophrenia, ketamine and cannabis: evidence of overlapping memory deficits.

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Box 189, University of Cambridge, Department of Psychiatry, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK.


Drug models of mental illness are considered useful if they provoke its characteristic symptoms. In this respect, ketamine and tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) are coming under increasing scrutiny as models for schizophrenia. However, although both undoubtedly produce psychotic symptoms characteristic of the disorder, we argue here that, because schizophrenia is also accompanied by cognitive deficits, a full understanding of the impact of these drugs on cognition will be crucial in taking these models further. Memory deficits are pronounced in schizophrenia and we focus upon patterns of working and episodic memory impairment produced by ketamine and cannabis, identifying overlaps between drug and illness. We suggest that close attention to these deficits can offer insights into core pathophysiology of schizophrenia.

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