Onset of Psychosis Not Related to Cognitive Deterioration in Schizophrenia

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Immediate verbal learning and memory declined significantly in the ultrahigh risk group over the follow-up period.
Immediate verbal learning and memory declined significantly in the ultrahigh risk group over the follow-up period.

The onset of psychosis may not be related to cognitive deterioration, according to a longitudinal study published in the Schizophrenia Bulletin.

The researchers included on 80 participants who were part of a larger study. At baseline, these participants were aged 15 to 30 years and met at least one of the operationalized ultrahigh risk criteria for psychosis according to the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental States. Participants were followed for 10 years and completed comprehensive interviews at follow-up that included assessments of psychopathology and cognition.

The results of the study showed significant improvements at follow-up in the Similarities (P =.03), Information (P <.01), Digit Symbol Coding (P <.01), and Trail Making Test-B (P =.01) tasks. However, performance on the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test underscored meaningful decline (P <.01) across the follow-up period. Those who transitioned after 1 year demonstrated a significant decline on the Digit Symbol Coding task, and participants who did not transition showed improvement on this measure (P =.01; effect size [ES] 0.85). Minor positive connections were found between improvements in functioning and performance on the Digit Symbol Coding (r=0.24, P =.03) and Arithmetic tasks (r=0.28, P =.01).

The researchers concluded that “the onset of psychosis was not associated with deterioration in cognitive ability.” However, they suggested immediate verbal learning, memory, and processing speed as domains for risk models going forward and identified a need for more early intervention research in individuals classified as ultrahigh risk.

Reference

Allott K, Wood SJ, Yuen HP, et al. Longitudinal cognitive performance in individuals at ultrahigh risk for psychosis: a 10-year follow-up [published online October 13, 2018]. Schizophr Bull. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sby143

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