Cognitive functioning in outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia, with and without comorbid alcohol abuse

Funzionamento cognitivo in pazienti affetti da schizofrenia con e senza comorbidità per abuso alcolico

A. Ventriglio, A. Lepore, R.J. Baldessarini, R.M. Patella, A. Borelli, A. Bellomo

University of Foggia, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Psychiatry, Foggia, Italy; 1 ASL Foggia, Department of Mental Health, Foggia, Italy; 2 Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; International Consortium for Bipolar and Psychotic Disorders Research, McLean Division of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA


As the available studies suggest, inconsistently, that alcoholabuse may be associated with greater cognitive impairment in schizophrenia patients, we compared cognitive functioning among matched schizophrenia patients with and without comorbid alcohol abuse, and matched healthy controls.

We applied the Milan Overall Dementia Assessment (MODA) cognitive test battery to compare cognitive functioning in patients with schizophrenia meeting DSM-IV criteria with (n = 17) or without (n = 40) lifetime alcohol abuse, verified with the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST), and patients versus healthy controls (n = 21) matched for age, sex, education and psychosis ratings.

Cognitive performance was greatly impaired in both patientgroups compared to healthy controls, but only 6.2% more among patients with than without a history of alcohol-abuse. MODA and MAST scores were highly and inversely correlated.

Cognitive functioning in schizophrenia patients was substantially lower than in healthy subjects, as expected, but only slightly more impaired with a lifetime history of alcohol abuse.

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