Cognitive Decline in Youth May Predict Adult Psychosis

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A relative decline in cognitive performance in adolescence and young adulthood, particularly in verbal ability, may be an independent predictor of psychosis in adulthood, new research shows.

Further, the longitudinal cohort study also reveals that a relative decline in verbal ability between the ages 13 and 18 years is a stronger predictor of psychosis than verbal ability at age 18 alone.

“We found a relative decline in verbal ability between ages 13 and 18 years that predicts later psychosis more strongly than the absolute score at age 18 years and that this decline is associated independently with the development of schizophrenia and other nonaffective and affective psychoses,” the authors, led by James H. MacCabe, MRCPsych, PhD, from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London in the United Kingdom, write. The study was published online January 16, 2013, in JAMA Psychiatry.

According to investigators, there is clear evidence from a large number of prospective, population-based studies that individuals who develop psychosis in adulthood experience cognitive deficits during childhood and adolescence. However, they note, it is not clear whether these deficits become more severe during adolescence. They also point out that, to date, no prospective studies have measured changes in cognitive functioning during adolescence and early adulthood.

by Caroline Cassels, Medscape

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