Review of cognition and brain structure in schizophrenia: Profiles, longitudinal course, and effects of treatment

Laura A. Flashman, Michael F. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research on the cognitive and brain structural correlates of schizophrenia has seen tremendous progress over the past decade. It has become increasingly clear that there is no pathognomic neuropsychological or structural neuroanatomic profile in schizophrenia, likely due in part to etiological heterogeneity within the disorder. Nonetheless, several studies have indicated that verbal episodic memory and vigilance deficits are particularly prominent, and are observed even in untreated patients in their first episode of the disorder. The course of schizophrenia appears to be somewhat variable, and factors that contribute to the development of the illness, and in some patients, deterioration of cognitive functioning, have not been elucidated clearly. Neurodevelopmental factors, however, likely play an important role in the diathesis of the disorder, while neuropathological processes contribute to deterioration and progression. At this time, there are relatively few controlled comparisons of the cognitive effects of atypical and conventional antipsychotic medications. Additional studies of the potential effects of antipsychotic medications on structural brain abnormalities are warranted. It is hoped that newer innovative psychopharmacological approaches and neuropsychological remediation programs will, in the not-too-distant future, provide clinicians with a variety of means to improve the cognitive and social functioning of their patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalPsychiatric Clinics of North America
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes

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