Background. Evidence has mounted that some patients with schizophrenia experience remission of symptoms and restoration of social and vocational functioning. The purpose of this study was to identify neurocognitive variables associated with recovery from schizophrenia.
Method. Twenty-eight patients diagnosed with DSM-IV schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and who met our operational definition of recovery from schizophrenia underwent a battery of neurocognitive tests. These subjects were matched with schizophrenia patients who did not meet recovery criteria (‘non-recovered’) and with normal controls.
Results. On tests of executive functioning, verbal fluency and verbal working memory, recovered subjects performed significantly better than non-recovered subjects and were comparable to normal controls. Patient groups did not differ on a test that assessed early visual processing, but both groups performed significantly worse than normal controls.
Conclusions. Three measures of frontal lobe functioning appear to be neurocognitive domains associated with recovery from schizophrenia. These findings help narrow the search for targets for cognitive remediation that may have implications for improving community functioning.