Journal Article

Early Treatment-Induced Improvement of Negative Symptoms Predicts Cognitive Functioning in Treatment-Naïve First Episode Schizophrenia: A 2-Year Followup

Daniel Schuepbach, S. Kristian Hill, Richard D. Sanders, Daniel Hell, Matcheri S. Keshavan and John A. Sweeney

in Schizophrenia Bulletin

Published on behalf of Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

Volume 30, issue 4, pages 837-848
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 0586-7614
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1745-1701 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.schbul.a007136
Early Treatment-Induced Improvement of Negative Symptoms Predicts Cognitive Functioning in Treatment-Naïve First Episode Schizophrenia: A 2-Year Followup

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Studying neuroleptic-naive first episode schizophrenia is a strategy for investigating clinical and neuropsychological abnormalities at a very early phase of the disease without confounding influences of illness duration and medication effects. We examined the clinical and neuropsychological time course over 2 years in 32 neuroleptic-naive first episode patients (20 males, 12 females) and 21 healthy individuals with similar sociodemographic characteristics. Early treatment induced reduction of negative symptoms predicted superior cognitive performance throughout follow up in the domains of verbal fluency, attention, and nonverbal learning and memory. There were no associations between psychotic or disorganized symptoms and cognitive variables. These findings suggest an important relationship between treatment efficacy of antipsychotic medication and the longer term course of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia.

Keywords: Schizophrenia; followup; verbal memory; learning; neuropsychology

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Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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