September 08, 2004

Poor Verbal Memory Linked to Child Schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology

Recent research from the National Public Health Institute in Finland suggests that childhood-onset schizophrenia appears to be linked to more specific cognitive deficits than adult-onset, which involves more generalized deficits.

Children with early-onset schizophrenia had poorer verbal memory function (according to testing with the California Verbal Learning Test, the Wechsler Memory Scale, and the Weschler Adult Intelligence Scalle) than older people with schizophrenia. The study included a total of 237 schizophrenia patients, ranging in age from 13 to 44 years.

The specific verbal deficits included poorer word recall, poor ability to group words into appropriate categories, and poorer word recognition. However, overal working memory performance (general, not specifically verbal) and IQ measures did not differ significantly based on age of onset.

Researchers also noted that although people who have lived with schizophrenia longer have a more marked cognitive decline overall, this still did not offset the fact that children with schizophrenia performed more poorly on verbal-memory tasks specifically.

The article, recently published in the British Journal of Psychiatry (2004:185:215-219) concludes: "Verbal memory deficits ? known to be highly associated with functional outcome in schizophrenia ? should particularly be taken into account in the neuropsychological evaluation and efforts at remediation in patients with early-onset disorder."

For the full article, see "Age at schizophrenia onset linked to verbal memory deficits" Sept 8, 2004. Psychiatry Source (

Read the published study online - available at

For further research on this topic, see the following:

1) Neurocognitive Testing of Patients with Schizophrenia - Why? (available at

2) Neuropsychological deficits in children associated with increased familial risk for schizophrenia. Available at

3) Childhood developmental abnormalities in schizophrenia: evidence from high-risk studies. Available at


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