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Patients with psychosis display the so-called ‘Jumping to Conclusions’ bias (JTC) – a tendency for hasty decision-making in probabilistic reasoning tasks. So far, only a few studies have evaluated the JTC bias in ‘at-risk mental state’ (ARMS) patients, specifically in ARMS samples fulfilling ‘ultra-high risk’ (UHR) criteria, thus not allowing for comparisons between different ARMS subgroups.
In the framework of the PREVENT (secondary prevention of schizophrenia) study, a JTC task was applied to 188 patients either fulfilling UHR criteria or presenting with cognitive basic symptoms (BS). Similar data were available for 30 healthy control participants matched for age, gender, education and premorbid verbal intelligence. ARMS patients were identified by the Structured Interview for Prodromal Symptoms (SIPS) and the Schizophrenia Proneness Instrument – Adult Version (SPI-A).
The mean number of draws to decision (DTD) significantly differed between ARM -subgroups: UHR patients made significantly less draws to make a decision than ARMS patients with only cognitive BS. Furthermore, UHR patients tended to fulfil behavioural criteria for JTC more often than BS patients. In a secondary analysis, ARMS patients were much hastier in their decision-making than controls. In patients, DTD was moderately associated with positive and negative symptoms as well as disorganization and excitement.
Our data indicate an enhanced JTC bias in the UHR group compared to ARMS patients with only cognitive BS. This underscores the importance of reasoning deficits within cognitive theories of the developing psychosis. Interactions with the liability to psychotic transitions and therapeutic interventions should be unravelled in longitudinal studies.
The apolipoprotein E4 allele (ApoE4) is an established genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, its effects on cognitive performance and brain structure in healthy individuals are complex. We investigated the effect of ApoE4 on cognitive performance and medial temporal lobe volumetric measures in cognitively unimpaired young elderly with and without subjective memory impairment (SMI), which is an at-risk condition for dementia.
Altogether, 40 individuals with SMI and 62 without were tested on episodic memory and on tasks of speed and executive function. All participants were ApoE genotyped. 21 subjects with SMI and 47 without received additional structural magnetic resonance imaging. Volumetric measures of the hippocampus, the entorhinal cortex and the amygdala were obtained manually.
In the SMI group, ApoE4 carriers performed worse on the episodic memory (p=0.049) and showed smaller left hippocampal volumes (p=0.030). In the individuals without SMI, the ApoE4 carriers performed better on episodic memory (p=0.018) and had larger right hippocampal volumes (p=0.039). The interaction of group (SMI/no SMI) and ApoE genotype was significant for episodic memory (p=0.005) and right and left hippocampal volumes (p=0.042; p=0.035). There were no within-group differences or interaction effects on speed and executive function composite measures or other volumetric measures.
The negative effect of ApoE4 on episodic memory and hippocampal volume in SMI supports SMI as a prodromal condition of AD. The positive effects of ApoE4 in subjects without SMI adds to a number of reports on positive ApoE4 effects in young and very old individuals.
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