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Cognition-Clinical Course Link in Schizophrenia

Is “pseudospecificity” an issue over time?

A “paper-and-pencil” measure of planning and reasoning abilities may be able to index response to antipsychotic medication, according to a longitudinal study. Over time, however, the trial showed that cognitive improvement was linked to symptom improvement, suggesting “pseudospecificity.”

The study looked at the magnitude of neurocognitive impairment using the MATRICS Consensus Battery in individuals who experienced a first episode of psychosis. Investigators evaluated patients at baseline and after 12 weeks of antipsychotic treatment with either aripiprazole or risperidone.

Researchers saw marked cognitive functioning impairment. Performance on planning and reasoning tasks was a significant predictor of likely positive symptom remission during the 12-week period. General cognitive function, working memory, and verbal learning performance improved over time, but was facilitated by both positive and negative symptoms.

Both medications affected cognitive functioning similarly.

Citation: Trampush J, Lencz T, DeRosse P, et al. Psychosis prevention: Relationship of cognition to clinical response in first-episode schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Schizophr Bull. 2015;41(6):1237-1247.