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Overlapping Cognitive Patterns in Schizophrenia and Methamphetamine Dependence

Salo, Ruth PhD*,†; Ravizza, Susan PhD; Fassbender, Catherine PhD*,†

Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology: December 2011 - Volume 24 - Issue 4 - p 187–193
doi: 10.1097/WNN.0b013e31823fc1d0
Original Studies

Objective: To examine whether overlapping cognitive deficits exist in currently drug-abstinent chronic methamphetamine (MA) abusers and schizophrenia (SZ) patients.

Background: Both SZ and chronic MA abuse are associated with frontostriatal disruption as well as deficits in cognitive control, such as selective attention. To identify overlapping cognitive profiles, we compared performance of the 2 groups on the Stroop attention task.

Methods: Data were analyzed from 69 MA abusers who had been MA-abstinent for differing periods of time and from 23 SZ patients and 38 non-substance–abusing controls.

Results: The MA abusers in early abstinence displayed more Stroop interference than the SZ patients (P=0.004), long-term abstinent MA abusers (P=0.009), and controls (P=0.002). In the MA abusers, the magnitude of Stroop interference correlated positively with longer drug use (P=0.01) and negatively with longer drug abstinence (P=0.04). No correlations were found between psychotic symptoms and task performance.

Conclusions: On this task of attentional selection, only the MA abusers in early stages of abstinence showed performance deficits compared with controls. More research is needed to further elucidate overlapping patterns between MA abuse and SZ.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

*Department of Psychiatry, UC Davis Medical Center, University of California, Sacramento, CA

Imaging Research Center

Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Preparation of this paper was supported by Grant Awards MH11706, DA16293, and DA023029 to R.S.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Website,

Reprints: Ruth Salo, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, UC Davis Imaging Research Center, University of California Davis Medical Center, 4701 X Street, Sacramento, CA 96817 (e-mail:

Received February 5, 2011

Accepted October 21, 2011

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.