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Biol Psychiatry. 2006 May 1;59(9):863-71. Epub 2005 Dec 1.

Generalized and specific neurocognitive deficits in prodromal schizophrenia.

Author information

1
Recognition and Prevention Program, Department of Psychiatry Research, The Zucker Hillside Hospital, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Glen Oaks, New York, USA. lencz@lij.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Neurocognitive deficits are considered to be central to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, and the neurodevelopmental model suggests that such deficits precede full-blown psychosis. The present study examined performance on a broad neuropsychological battery of young subjects considered to be at clinical high risk for schizophrenia, who were subsequently followed to determine clinical outcome.

METHODS:

Subjects were 38 clinical high-risk patients (58% male patients; mean age = 16.5) and 39 sex- and age-matched healthy control subjects. At baseline, all high-risk patients had attenuated (subpsychotic) schizophrenialike positive symptoms. Clinical follow-up data of at least 6 months duration was available on 33 patients, of whom 12 developed nonaffective psychotic disorders.

RESULTS:

At baseline, clinical high-risk patients had significantly impaired global cognitive performance relative to control subjects and to estimates of their own prior intellectual functioning. Measures of verbal memory and executive functioning/working memory showed significantly greater impairments; visuospatial functioning was relatively spared. Prodromal patients who later developed psychosis had significantly lower verbal memory scores at baseline compared with patients who remained nonpsychotic.

CONCLUSIONS:

Verbal memory deficits may be an important risk marker for the development of schizophrenia-spectrum psychotic disorders, possibly indicating the presence of a prefrontal-hippocampal neurodevelopmental abnormality. Generalized neurocognitive impairment may be a nonspecific vulnerability marker.

PMID:
16325151
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.09.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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