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J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2006 Nov;28(8):1388-407.

Neurocognitive functioning in subjects at risk for a first episode of psychosis compared with first- and multiple-episode schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.


Evidence from neurobiological studies suggests that schizophrenia arises from an early abnormality in brain development and possibly further progressive developmental mechanisms. Despite a delay between the acquisition of neuropathology and the triggering of psychosis, neurobiological susceptibility is likely to be expressed subclinically by biobehavioral markers in the premorbid stage. The exploratory study aims at identifying potential neurocognitive risk factors and investigating the unfolding of the illness within a cross-sectional design by comparing neurocognitive profiles in 179 healthy controls, 38 clinically identified subjects in an early initial prodromal state (EIPS) for psychosis, 90 subjects in a late initial prodromal state (LIPS), 86 first-episode patients with schizophrenia, and 88 multiple-episode patients. Subjects at risk were substantially impaired in verbal executive and verbal memory functions. Compared to EIPS subjects, LIPS subjects demonstrated additional attentional deficits. Both EIPS and LIPS subjects were superior to first-episode patients who presented a generalized neuropsychological deficit profile, and to multiple-episode patients who showed evidence for further decline. Although results were influenced by general intellectual abilities and demographic and clinical characteristics, they could not account for total group differences. Results support a neurodevelopmental model of psychosis with further progressive mechanisms and are consistent with a primary involvement of left frontotemporal networks in the prodromal phase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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