Schizophrenia and deficit schizophrenia are accompanied by neurocognitive impairments. The aim of this study was to examine whether a general factor underpins impairments in key Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) probes, verbal fluency test (VFT), world list memory (WLM), True Recall, and mini mental state examination (MMSE).
We recruited 80 patients with schizophrenia and 40 healthy controls. All patients were assessed using CANTAB tests, namely paired-association learning, rapid visual information processing, spatial working memory, one touch stockings of Cambridge, intra/extradimensional set-shifting (IED), and emotional recognition test.
We found that a general factor, which is essentially unidimensional, underlies those CANTAB, VFT, WLM, True Recall, and MMSE scores. This common factor shows excellent psychometric properties and fits a reflective model and, therefore, reflects a general cognitive decline (G-CoDe) comprising deficits in semantic and episodic memory, recall, executive functions, strategy use, rule acquisition, visual sustained attention, attentional set-shifting, and emotional recognition. Partial least squares analysis showed that 40.5% of the variance in G-CoDe is explained by C-C motif ligand 11, IgA to tryptophan catabolites, and increased oxidative toxicity, and that G-CoDe explains 44.8% of the variance in a general factor extracted from psychosis, hostility, excitation, mannerism, negative symptoms, formal thought disorders, and psychomotor retardation, and 40.9% in quality-of-life scores. The G-CoDe is significantly greater in deficit than in nondeficit schizophrenia.