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Selectivity of verbal memory deficit in schizophrenic patients and their relatives.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 7
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics
Volume116B
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003

King's Authors

Abstract

Some of the relatives of people with schizophrenia show impairments of memory and executive function. It is not known, however, whether within these domains there is a class of processes that is especially impaired. Seventy schizophrenic or schizoaffective patients, 115 of their relatives and 66 normal controls underwent a series of assessments evaluating modality specific recall/learning, and aspects of executive functioning, including, planning ability, spatial working memory, strategy formation and rapid mental flexibility. The pattern of performance across cognitive processes was assessed using z-scores that allow direct comparison between tests with different raw score metries. Selectivity of deficit was evaluated by subtracting the z-score of each cognitive process from the mean of the z-scores of those remaining. Patients performed worse than controls on most measures, with verbal immediate recall and visual memory/learning the most impaired. Their relatives showed lower scores than controls on verbal and visual memory/ learning and strategy formation; verbal memory and strategy formation remained impaired after eliminating those relatives with a psychiatric diagnosis. Consistent with the findings in their schizophrenic kin, healthy relatives also showed disproportionate impairments in verbal immediate recall. Our finding of a selective deficit in verbal memory among relatives suggests that such impairment constitutes a familial, probably genetic, risk factor for schizophrenia. (C) 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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