The study tested whether the antisaccade (AS) performance and Contingent Negative Variation (CNV) measures differed between the first-episode and chronic patients to provide the evidence of PFC progressive functional deterioration. Subjects included 15 first-episode and 20 chronic schizophrenic patients (with the duration of illness more than 5 years), and 21 control subjects. The first-episode and chronic patients had significantly elevated error percent (p < .05, effect size 1.10 and p < .001, effect size 1.25), increased AS latencies (p < .01, effect size 1.18 and p < .001, effect size 1.69), and increased latencies variability (p < .01, effect size 1.52 and p < .001, effect size 1.37) compared to controls. Chronic patients had marginally significant increase of the response latency (p = .086, effect size .78) and latency variability (p < .099, effect size .63) compared to first-episode ones. Results of CNV analysis revealed that chronic patients only exhibited robustly declined frontal CNV amplitude at Fz (p < .05, effect size .70), F3 (p < .05, effect size .88), and F4 (p < .05, effect size .71) sites compared to controls. The obtained results might be related to specific changes in prefrontal cortex function over the course of schizophrenia.
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