June 20, 2004

Schizophrenia and Psychotic Depression are Neurologically Similar

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology

Psychotic depression may be a little-known first cousin of schizophrenia, University of Illinois study suggests.

Investigators performed extensive neuropsychological analysis testing on 106 patients admitted for a psychotic disorder and later diagnosed with either a schizophrenia spectrum disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or unipolar depression with psychotic features. Investigators did not know the official diagnosis at the time of the neurological testing. They then compared those patient profiles with 14 nonpsychotic unipolar depression patients and 81 healthy individuals who underwent the same tests.

"To our knowledge," the researchers asserted in their study report, "this is the first study to provide data that document the neuropsychological profile of psychotic depression in young adults at the time of the first episode of illness, before treatment with antipsychotic medication."

Analysis of the subjects' profiles showed that individuals with psychotic depression had a pattern of neuropsychological dysfunction that appeared to be a milder version of schizophrenia-disorder patient profiles. Those with nonpsychotic depression had profiles that more closely resembled healthy control subjects.

Researchers conclude on the basis of these results that psychotic depression involves marked neuropshychological impairment, and propose that schizophrenia nad psychotic depression may be pathologically and phsyiologically similar.

For further information, see the full-text news article or the published study results.


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