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A cross-sectional study was conducted in participants with schizophrenia to explore a potential association between the patients' remission status and neurocognitive functioning and to examine whether these factors have an impact on functional outcome.
Psychopathological symptoms were rated by means of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale with symptom remission being assessed by applying the severity component of the recently proposed remission criteria. Tests for the cognitive battery were selected to cover domains known to be impaired in patients with schizophrenia. Next to pre-morbid intelligence, attention performance, executive functioning, verbal fluency, verbal learning and memory, working memory and visual memory were assessed. The joint effect of remission status and neurocognitive functioning on treatment outcome was investigated by logistic regression analysis.
Out of 140 patients included in the study, 62 were symptomatically remitted. Mean age, education and sex distribution were comparable in remitted and non-remitted patients. Remitted patients showed significantly higher values on tests of verbal fluency, alertness and optical vigilance. Both symptomatic remission as well as performance on tests of working memory and verbal memory had a significant effect on the patients' employment status.
In the present study neuropsychological measures of frontal lobe functioning were associated with symptomatic remission from schizophrenia. In addition, both symptomatic remission and performance on tests of working memory and verbal memory had a significant effect on the patients' employment status. Longitudinal follow-up data are needed to determine how the associations of these determinants of functional outcome interact and change over time.
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