Neurocognition in Early-Onset Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorders

The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7255, USA.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.26). 01/2010; 49(1):52-60. DOI: 10.1097/00004583-201001000-00009
Source: PubMed


We examined the neuropsychological functioning of youth enrolled in the NIMH funded trial, Treatment of Early-Onset Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders (TEOSS). We compared the baseline neuropsychological functioning of youth with schizophrenia (SZ, n = 79) to those with schizoaffective disorder (SA, n = 40), and examined the relationship of different variables of illness severity and adaptive behavior to neuropsychological functioning.
Participants ranged in age from 8 to 19 years. Diagnostic status was confirmed via structured interview over multiple time points. Domains of neuropsychological functioning included fine-motor, attention, working memory, problem-solving efficiency, inhibitory control, and social cognition. Other variables included intelligence (IQ), academic achievement skills, adaptive behavior, and different measures of illness severity.
The two groups did not differ on IQ or on any of the neuropsychological domains. The SZ group performed significantly lower in spelling. A high proportion of individuals in both groups reflected significant intellectual and academic achievement skill deficits. Significant correlations were found between the neurocognitive domains and both illness severity and adaptive behavior variables.
There were few differences between the SZ and SA groups on IQ, achievement, or neuropsychological functioning; however, both groups showed significantly high rates of deficits in IQ and basic academic skills. Correlations of the neurocognitive functions with illness severity and adaptive behavior were small to moderate in magnitude. These findings continue to implicate the importance of neurocognitive functioning as a key area of vulnerability in the study of youth with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

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    • "One of the few differences between the EOS and AOS groups reaching the level of statistical significance was the slightly surprising finding of more males, with more negative symptoms, in the AOS group. While a small male majority is more prevalent in adolescent samples, an equal gender balance is also not uncommon (Frangou et al., 2008; Hooper et al., 2010; Jepsen et al., 2010; Walker and Standen, 2011; Zedkova et al., 2011). Follow-up analyses controlling for differences in sample characteristics indicated that gender differences did not influence the main findings. "
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