The neuropsychology of the schizo-obsessive subtype of schizophrenia : a new analysis
Background : Interest in the neuro-cognitive profile of patients with schizophrenia and co-morbid obsessive compulsive disorder (schizo-OCD) is rising in response to reports of high co-morbidity rates. Whereas schizophrenia has been associated with global impairment in a wide range of neuro-cognitive domains, OCD is associated with specific deficits featuring impaired performance on tasks of motor and cognitive inhibition involving frontostriatal neuro-circuitry. Method : We compared cognitive function using the CANTAB battery in patients with schizo-OCD (n=12) and a schizophrenia group without OCD symptoms (n=16). The groups were matched for IQ, gender, age, medication, and duration of illness. Results : The schizo-OCD patients made significantly more errors on a task of attentional set-shifting (ID-ED set-shift task). By contrast, no significant differences emerged on the Stockings of Cambridge task, the Cambridge Gamble Task or the Affective Go/NoGo tasks. No correlation emerged between ID-ED performance and severity of schizophrenia, OCD or depressive symptoms, consistent with neurocognitive impairment holding trait rather than state-marker status. Schizo-obsessives also exhibited a trend toward more motor tics emphasizing a neurological contribution to the disorder. Conclusion : Our findings reveal a more severe attentional set-shifting deficit and neurological abnormality that may be fundamental to the neuro-cognitive profile of schizo-OCD. The clinical implications of these impairments merit further exploration in larger studies.