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Cognitive Functioning in Recent Onset Psychosis

Dickerson, Faith PhD, MPH*; Stallings, Cassie MA, RNC*; Vaughan, Crystal BA*; Origoni, Andrea BA*; Khushalani, Sunil MD*; Dickinson, Dwight PhD; Medoff, Deborah PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: June 2011 - Volume 199 - Issue 6 - p 367-371
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31821cd0ff
Original Articles

The purpose of the study was to compare the cognitive functioning of persons with a recent onset of psychosis with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and bipolar disorder and nonpsychiatric controls. A total of 56 persons with a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder and 60 with bipolar disorder, all with a recent onset psychosis, and 312 nonpsychiatric controls were evaluated using the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Comparison of the three groups through analysis of covariance indicated a significant difference among the groups for all of the cognitive variables. Pairwise contrasts of the two recent onset groups showed a significant difference favoring the bipolar disorder group on RBANS Language (p = 0.020) and Total (p = 0.050) and a marginally significant difference on RBANS Immediate Memory (p = 0.053) but not on the other RBANS variables or on the WCST. Cognitive performance is broadly impaired in recent onset psychosis, with a cognitive advantage to bipolar disorder patients compared with schizophrenia-spectrum patients.

*Sheppard Pratt, Baltimore; †Genes, Cognition and Psychosis Program, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda; and ‡University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

This study was funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute.

Send reprint requests to Faith Dickerson, Sheppard Pratt, 6501 North Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21204. E-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.