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The origin of cognitive impairments in psychotic disorders is still
unclear. Although some deficits are apparent prior to the onset of frank
illness, it is unknown if they progress
To investigate whether cognitive function declined over the transition to
psychosis in a group of ultra-high risk individuals
Participants consisted of two groups: controls (n = 17)
and individuals at ultra-high risk for development of psychosis
(n = 16). Seven of the latter group later developed
psychosis. Neuropsychological testing was conducted at baseline and again
after at least a 12-month interval
Both the Visual Reproduction sub-test of the Wechsler Memory
Scale-Revised and Trail-Making Test B showed a decline over the follow-up
period that was specific to the group who became psychotic. In addition,
both high-risk groups showed a decline in digit span performance. No
other task showed significant change over time
These preliminary data suggest that as psychosis develops there may be a
specific decline in visual memory and attentional set-shifting,
reflecting impairments in efficient organisation of visual stimuli. This
may be caused by either the illness itself or treatment with
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