Premorbid cognitive and behavioral functioning in military recruits experiencing the first episode of psychosis.CNS Spectr. 2004 Aug; 9(8):604-6.CS
To characterize the premorbid cognitive and behavioral abilities in apparently healthy adolescents who at a later time will be diagnosed with schizophreniform disorder or schizophrenia.
Clarifying the pathological relationship between subtle intellectual and behavioral abnormalities and disease could provide markers for the early prediction of future psychosis.
Premorbid data on young male patients admitted to the Department of Psychiatry of the Central Military Hospital in Bucharest, Romania, between 1996 and 2002 and diagnosed with a first episode of psychosis or schizophreniform disorder were collected. The premorbid data consisted in the test scores of intellectual functioning and personality traits were collected by the Romanian Draft Board in order to assesses their aptitude to serve in the military. Premorbid cognitive and behavioral scores of male patients (cases=157) were compared with the scores of healthy male individuals (non-cases=169) matched for age, education, and geographic area of residence. The tests were administered when subjects were 18 years of age (initial screening) and the entire assessment was completed and concluded when subjects reached 20 years of age (actual conscription).
As a group, apparently healthy males later admitted for a first episode of psychosis or schizophreniform disorder, obtained lower (worse) scores on the Raven Progressive Matrices test and on relevant personality traits in comparison to controls.
The results add to the accumulating body of evidence suggesting that aspects of schizophrenia manifest years before the illness is formally diagnosed. Despite these results, more studies are needed to improve the diagnosing specificity and predictive value of the premorbid cognitive and behavioral manifestations, before they can be used as markers in models of primary or secondary prevention.