Background: Neurocognitive impairments have been documented in adolescents with early-onset schizophrenia (EOS; onset by age 18) and are important treatment targets. Information concerning the severity, pattern, and clinical correlates of these deficits in EOS remains limited. Methods: Tests assessing motor skills, attention, memory, visuospatial abilities and executive functioning were administered to 54 clinically stabilized adolescents with EOS and 52 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Childhood-onset patients (onset by age 13) were compared to those with an adolescent onset of illness. Patients' neurocognitive profiles were compared to those of controls. Relationships between neurocognitive deficits and demographic and clinical characteristics were explored. Results: Neurocognitive profiles did not differ between childhood- and adolescent-onset participants. Patients showed a generalized neurocognitive deficit of 2.0 SDs compared to controls, with relative deficit in executive functioning and relative sparing of language and visuospatial abilities. Degree of generalized neurocognitive impairment was associated with premorbid adjustment and negative symptom severity (Adjusted R2 = .39). Conclusions: Results document both a significant generalized deficit and a relative deficit of executive functioning in adolescents with EOS. The overall pattern is similar to that observed in severely ill first-episode adult patients. The impairments across multiple neurocognitive domains suggest widespread brain dysfunction in EOS.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grants MH-60221 to Dr. Kane; MH-64556 and a National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression award to Dr. Kumra; MH-65580 to Dr. Lencz; North Shore Long Island Jewish Research Institute General Clinical Research Center, Grant # M01 RR018535.
- Generalized deficit