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Numerous studies shown that structural hippocampal alterations are present in subjects at high risk of developing psychosis or schizophrenia. These findings indicate that in a subset of patients undergoing first-psychosis episode (FPE), hippocampal volume alterations are accompanied by associated cognitive and neuropsychological deficits. The combination of psychological deficits and neuroanatomical alterations, in turn, appears to increase treatment complexity and worsen clinical outcomes.
We aim to determine whether cognitive and neuropsychological functioning deficits precede or follow hippocampal alterations during early onset psychosis.
This cross-sectional study describes 3 case-studies of adolescent subjects, ages 16–17, admitted at the child and adolescent inpatient psychiatric unit in lieu of first psychotic episode. We conducted detailed structured clinical psychiatric interviews, anatomical-structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), sleep-deprived electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings, laboratory testing, and a comprehensive battery of psychological testing to better understand their clinical pictures.
Psychological testing in each patient demonstrated the presence of low to borderline intellectual functioning coupled with neuropsychological deficits in different psychiatric domains. Interestingly, these changes coincided with structural MRI alterations in the hippocampal area.
Our case report adds to the armamentarium of literature signifying that radiologically detectable alterations of the hippocampus may occur either concomitantly or closely following the development of early cognitive deficits in patients with FPE.
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