Cognition in young schizophrenia outpatients: Comparison of first-episode with multiepisode patients

Yoram Braw, Yuval Bloch, Shlomo Mendelovich, Gideon Ratzoni, Gilad Gal, Hagai Harari, Asaf Tripto, Yechiel Levkovitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Cognitive impairments are recognized as a central feature of schizophrenia (SZ), largely independent of other symptoms, and a major cause of poor functioning. Studies indicate cognitive deterioration in the first years after the onset of SZ. These studies, however, have been criticized for using a small sample size, for having limited monitoring of confounding variables, and for the inclusion of cohorts of different ages. The current study compared the cognitive profile of first-episode schizophrenia patients, multi-episode schizophrenia patients and healthy controls (n = 44, n = 39, and n = 44; respectively). The study focused on the early stages of the disorder, recruiting only young patients. All subjects underwent an extensively validated computerized cognitive assessment (Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery). The results revealed widespread cognitive impairments in SZ patients, compared with healthy control subjects. The multiepisode SZ patients were significantly more impaired than the first-episode ones, with deficits mainly related to psychomotor speed, pattern memory, and executive functioning. The functioning in other cognitive domains (ie, attention and spatial memory) was deficient even at an early stage of the disorder. These findings can help clarify the course of cognitive decline in young-aged SZ patients and aid in the development of phase-appropriate interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-554
Number of pages11
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Attention
  • Cognition
  • Executive functions
  • Memory


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