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Dissociation of long-term verbal memory and fronto-executive impairment in first-episode psychosis

Leeson, V. C.; Robbins, T. W.; Franklin, C.; Harrison, M.; Harrison, I.; Ron, M. A.; Barnes, T. R. E.; (2009) Dissociation of long-term verbal memory and fronto-executive impairment in first-episode psychosis. Psychological Medicine , 39 (11) pp. 1799-1808. 10.1017/S0033291709005935. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Verbal memory is frequently and severely affected in schizophrenia and has been implicated as a mediator of poor clinical outcome. Whereas encoding deficits are well demonstrated, it is unclear whether retention is impaired. This distinction is important because accelerated forgetting implies impaired consolidation attributable to medial temporal lobe (MTL) dysfunction whereas impaired encoding and retrieval implicates involvement of prefrontal cortex. Method: We assessed a group of healthy volunteers (n=97) and pre-morbid IQ- and sex-matched first-episode psychosis patients (n=97), the majority of whom developed schizophrenia. We compared performance of verbal learning and recall with measures of visuospatial working memory, planning and attentional set-shifting, and also current IQ. Results: All measures of performance, including verbal memory retention, a memory savings score that accounted for learning impairments, were significantly impaired in the schizophrenia group. The difference between groups for delayed recall remained even after the influence of learning and recall was accounted for. Factor analyses showed that, in patients, all variables except verbal memory retention loaded on a single factor, whereas in controls verbal memory and fronto-executive measures were separable. Conclusions: The results suggest that IQ, executive function and verbal learning deficits in schizophrenia may reflect a common abnormality of information processing in prefrontal cortex rather than specific impairments in different cognitive domains. Verbal memory retention impairments, however, may have a different aetiology.

Type: Article
Title: Dissociation of long-term verbal memory and fronto-executive impairment in first-episode psychosis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0033291709005935
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291709005935
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009. The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/>. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.
Keywords: First episode, psychosis, schizophrenia, verbal learning, verbal memory
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/20128
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