Cognitive impairment has been consistently described in adult-onset psychosis. A few studies have reported that cognitive impairment is present in early-onset schizophrenia. However, studies on other psychoses are lacking and little is known about the potential specificity of cognitive impairment patterns among the differential sub-diagnoses.
1) To examine the nature and extent of cognitive impairment in first-episode early-onset psychosis (EOP) and 2) To search for differential cognitive impairment profiles among the diagnosis subgroups.
This study describes the basal neuropsychological results of the child and adolescent first-episode psychosis study (CAFEPS), a spanish multicenter longitudinal study. One hundred first-episode patients with EOP and 98 healthy controls underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment. Three diagnostic categories were established: schizophrenia spectrum disorders (n=45), affective psychosis (n=28), and psychosis not otherwise specified (n=28). Baseline diagnoses were confirmed at a 6-month follow-up visit.
Performance of patients was between 0.88 and 2 standard deviations below that of controls in all cognitive domains: attention (p<0.001), working memory (p<0.001), executive functioning (p<0.001), and memory (p<0.001). The three diagnostic subgroups did not differ from one another in terms of impaired/preserved cognitive functions and degree of impairment.
The pattern and degree of cognitive impairment in first-episode EOP patients is similar to that reported in first-episode adult-onset patients. Our results failed to identify significant differences among diagnostic subgroups at the onset of the illness. The longitudinal design of the present study will allow for identification of potential differences in the course of cognitive impairment.