Spatial working memory deficits and clinical symptoms in schizophrenia: a 4-month follow-up study.

Park S, PĆ¼schel J, Sauter BH, Rentsch M, Hell D
Biol Psychiatry. 1999 46 (3): 392-400

PMID: 10435205 · DOI:10.1016/s0006-3223(98)00370-9

BACKGROUND - Our goal was to examine spatial working memory function in relation to clinical symptoms of schizophrenia over a period of 4 months.

METHODS - We assessed spatial working memory, spatial detection and clinical symptoms in 34 acutely psychotic schizophrenia patients within the first 2 weeks of hospitalization, and 4 months later. Spatial working memory was assessed by a delayed response task. A spatial control task was included to rule out simple sensorimotor deficits. Positive and negative symptoms were assessed by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Thirty-nine matched normal control subjects were also examined on the same tasks over the same period.

RESULTS - Patients showed deficits in working memory, but they performed well on the spatial control task. Both positive and negative symptoms improved at the 4-month follow up. Spatial working memory also improved over time but there was still a significant deficit at the follow-up session.

CONCLUSIONS - These results indicate that both symptoms and spatial working memory improved 4 months after the initial hospitalization but spatial working memory, hypothesized to be mediated by the dorsolateral prefrontal system, did not normalize. Thus, spatial working memory deficit may be a stable marker for schizophrenia.

MeSH Terms (14)

Acute Disease Adult Female Follow-Up Studies Humans Male Memory Disorders Perceptual Disorders Prefrontal Cortex Psychiatric Status Rating Scales Schizophrenia Schizophrenic Psychology Space Perception Time Factors

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