Neuropsychological Profile of Patients in the First Episode of Psychosis

Vasilios P. Bozikas1, Aikaterini Dardagani1, Panagiotis Athanasis1, Ioannis Gliatas1, Evangelos Ntouros1, Eleni Parlapani1; 1Aristotle University Of Thessaloniki

Purpose: Neurocognitive dysfunction in patients presenting psychotic symptoms for the first time has been repeatedly noted by researchers. However, there is still much diversity in data concerning the performance of these patients in specific cognitive domains and their degree of impairment. Materials and Methods: We used the Cambridge Neuropsychological Automated Battery (CANTAB), in order to administer a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests. A series of tests was selected measuring attention, memory, planning, inhibition, shifting ability, mental flexibility, working memory and visuospatial ability. The sample comprised of 64 patients (37 male) with first episode of psychosis and 14 healthy individuals (9 male). Results: Patients’ performance was lower in all cognitive domains, in relation to the performance of controls. More specifically, impairments in sustained attention (-.6 SD), memory (-.7 SD), planning (-.6 SD), working memory (-.7 SD), shifting ability (-.6 SD) and visuospatial ability (-.6 SD) were prominent. Also, patients presented a severe deficit in speed of processing (.7 SD) and selective attention (-.6 SD). Conclusion: Our data confirms that patients in the first episode of psychosis present deficits in all cognitive domains. A more rigorous and thorough examination of specific subcomponents of cognitive abilities may be necessary to examine possible contributing factors in order to specify the exact nature of cognitive deficits in first episode of psychosis.

Topic Area: Neurocognition

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