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Biol Psychiatry. 1997 Jul 15;42(2):104-15.

Sex differences in olfactory identification and Wisconsin Card Sorting performance in schizophrenia: relationship to attention and verbal ability.

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Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston 02115, USA.


We investigated the hypothesis that different prefrontal brain systems (i.e., dorsal vs. ventral) and sex contribute differentially to cognitive deficit in schizophrenia. Performance was assessed among clinically stable, chronic schizophrenic outpatients and matched normal control subjects on olfactory identification [on the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT)] and on executive functions [using the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST)]. Patients were impaired on both tests compared to controls, and male schizophrenics were impaired on the WCST compared to female schizophrenics. The pattern of results suggests that gender differences on the UPSIT are mildly accentuated in schizophrenia. The data support our previous study indicating that UPSIT performance is largely independent of the executive or attentional deficits typically associated with schizophrenia, with the exception of verbal ability. Further research with larger samples is required to test the hypothesis that there is a severely impaired subgroup of male patients with diffuse prefrontal dysfunctions.

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