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This chapter reviews the literature on sex differences in olfactory ability and describes the current state of knowledge on this subject. Sex differences in olfactory function have been observed on virtually all olfactory measures examined. These include detection threshold, sensitivity, discrimination, identification, naming, memory and hedonics. The chapter outlines methodological shortcomings in published reports, and offers some hypotheses in order to explain the male/female difference in olfactory function. The consistent behavioural differences between males and females on olfactory psychophysical testing support the argument that it is imperative that 'sex' be taken into account when designing olfactory neuroimaging studies. There is a widely held belief that women are differentially sensitive to odours over the course of the menstrual cycle. The effects of sex on odour processing are not limited to sexually relevant odours, as is evidenced by sex differences in odour detection threshold for sexually irrelevant odorants.
The efficacies of second-generation antipsychotic medications in reducing symptoms are reasonably well-documented, but their effects on cognition are less clearly understood.
To undertake an interim analysis of an open label, 2-year study examining the effects of quetiapine on cognition in patients with a first episode of schizophrenia and related disorders.
Cognitive testing was performed before quetiapine was initiated and repeated after 3, 6 and 12 months of treatment. To date, 13 patients have been fully assessed (mean dose 517.9 mg/day; s.d.=225.8).
Statistically significant improvement was noted on measures of attention (Continuous Performance Test; CPT), verbal productivity (Verbal Fluency Test) and executive function (Object Alternation Test) after 6 and 12 months of treatment. For the CPT, improvement was also noted after 3 months of treatment.
During treatment for 1 year with quetiapine, cognitive performance was improved in young patients with psychosis. Continued controlled investigations of the effects of quetiapine on cognition are desirable.
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