BACKGROUND: People with schizophrenia show a broad range of neurocognitive deficits, which are considered as core features of the disorder and are thought to be partly heritable. Similar deficits, albeit at a lesser degree, have been also found in their healthy biological relatives. These deficits, if better characterized, might represent underlying vulnerable traits for psychosis.METHODS: This case-control study compared neurocognitive functioning of adult first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia (SCZ-RELs) (n=55) with healthy control subjects (n=55) and explored its association with the negative symptoms. Subjects in both study and control group were assessed with an extensive neurocognitive test battery (Trail Making test, Phonemic Verbal fluency, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Bushke Fuld Test, Stroop Test, n-Back and Digit span) and a set of clinical measures (SANS, GAF and DAS).RESULTS: SCZ-RELs were more significantly impaired on executive function tasks (i.e. Wisconsin Card Sorting Test and the Phonemic Verbal fluency) and displayed significantly more severe negative symptoms and poorer social functioning than control subjects. Significant correlations between neurocognitive measures and negative symptoms were found in the study group, whereas no significant correlations were detected among the controls.DISCUSSION: Subtle executive impairments, associated with negative symptoms, are shown to be evident in healthy relatives of patients with schizophrenia. These deficits, which reflect subtle dysfunction in concept formation, flexibility and mental shifting, may be seen as potential phenotypic markers of vulnerability for schizophrenia. This raises the question of underlying prefrontal dysfunction as core feature of the disorder.
|Titolo:||Neurocognitive profile and its association with psychopathology in first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia. A case-control study|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01.01 Articolo in Rivista|