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Deterioration of visuospatial associative memory following a first psychotic episode: a long-term follow-up study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 June 2017

C. M. J. Wannan
Affiliation:
Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne & Melbourne Health, Carlton South, VIC, Australia
C. F. Bartholomeusz
Affiliation:
Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne & Melbourne Health, Carlton South, VIC, Australia Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Parkville, Victoria, Australia The Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
V. L. Cropley
Affiliation:
Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne & Melbourne Health, Carlton South, VIC, Australia Centre for Mental Health, Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, School of Health Sciences, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia
T. E. Van Rheenen
Affiliation:
Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne & Melbourne Health, Carlton South, VIC, Australia Centre for Mental Health, Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, School of Health Sciences, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia Cognitive Neuropsychiatry Laboratory, Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc), The Alfred Hospital and Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
A. Panayiotou
Affiliation:
Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne & Melbourne Health, Carlton South, VIC, Australia
W. J. Brewer
Affiliation:
Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
T. M. Proffitt
Affiliation:
Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
L. Henry
Affiliation:
Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Parkville, Victoria, Australia The Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
M. G. Harris
Affiliation:
School of Public Health, The University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
D. Velakoulis
Affiliation:
Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne & Melbourne Health, Carlton South, VIC, Australia
P. McGorry
Affiliation:
Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Parkville, Victoria, Australia The Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
C. Pantelis
Affiliation:
Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne & Melbourne Health, Carlton South, VIC, Australia Centre for Neural Engineering, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Melbourne, South Carlton, Victoria, Australia
S. J. Wood
Affiliation:
Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne & Melbourne Health, Carlton South, VIC, Australia Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Parkville, Victoria, Australia The Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, UK
Corresponding

Abstract

Background

Cognitive deficits are a core feature of schizophrenia, and impairments in most domains are thought to be stable over the course of the illness. However, cross-sectional evidence indicates that some areas of cognition, such as visuospatial associative memory, may be preserved in the early stages of psychosis, but become impaired in later established illness stages. This longitudinal study investigated change in visuospatial and verbal associative memory following psychosis onset.

Methods

In total 95 first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients and 63 healthy controls (HC) were assessed on neuropsychological tests at baseline, with 38 FEP and 22 HCs returning for follow-up assessment at 5–11 years. Visuospatial associative memory was assessed using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery Visuospatial Paired-Associate Learning task, and verbal associative memory was assessed using Verbal Paired Associates subtest of the Wechsler Memory Scale - Revised.

Results

Visuospatial and verbal associative memory at baseline did not differ significantly between FEP patients and HCs. However, over follow-up, visuospatial associative memory deteriorated significantly for the FEP group, relative to healthy individuals. Conversely, verbal associative memory improved to a similar degree observed in HCs. In the FEP cohort, visuospatial (but not verbal) associative memory ability at baseline was associated with functional outcome at follow-up.

Conclusions

Areas of cognition that develop prior to psychosis onset, such as visuospatial and verbal associative memory, may be preserved early in the illness. Later deterioration in visuospatial memory ability may relate to progressive structural and functional brain abnormalities that occurs following psychosis onset.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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Footnotes

Joint Senior Authors.

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