Intellectual decline in schizophrenia: evidence from a prospective birth cohort 28 year follow-up study.

Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology (Impact Factor: 2.16). 03/2006; 28(2):225-42. DOI: 10.1080/13803390500360471
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT It is well established that IQ is lower among persons with schizophrenia than in the general population. However, it remains unclear if there is deterioration beyond a premorbid deficit. In order to assess the question of IQ deterioration, we assessed persons pre- and-post psychosis, comparing those who developed schizophrenia with those who did not. Twenty six patients with schizophrenia and 59 normal controls, evaluated at age 7 in the prospective, longitudinal, National Collaborative Perinatal Project (NCPP), were re-tested approximately 28 years later. We assessed change in an estimate of IQ based on the Vocabulary and Block Design tests from the Wechsler intelligence scales. Persons who later developed schizophrenia were significantly impaired on IQ compared to controls at age 7, especially on measures of attention. At age 35, persons with schizophrenia demonstrated significant impairment and deterioration on both IQ sub-tests compared to controls. Because impairment occurs by early childhood and subsequent deterioration occurs at an unknown period, designs with more frequent assessment of IQ through the premorbid, prodromal and early phases of illness are required to identify the key period of decline. Future research on this sample will evaluate the prospective roles of family history and perinatal complications on cognition, and assess the specificity of these findings.

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