Doina COSMAN*, Bogdan NEMEŞ, Sorin NICA, Dana-Cristina HERŢA
Iuliu Haţieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Memory impairment has been acknowledged as a core cognitive deficit in schizophrenia, and it is present irrespective of specific features related to the patient or the evolution of the disorder. It is suggested that distinct functional subsystems of memory are differently impaired in these patients, hence the broad range of levels of functioning affected in this specific population. The aim of this study was to assess working memory performance in multiple episode schizophrenia patients. A group of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and a control group of healthy subjects were comparatively evaluated with 3 neurocognitive tests which require the use of working memory subsystems. Our results indicate significantly poorer performance in the case of patients suffering from schizophrenia, in all three working memory tests – they displayed impaired face recognition abilities and used a significantly higher number of non-list words when asked to repeat a list of words, which may be particularly relevant for their social functioning. The neurobiological and genetic background of the memory impairment in schizophrenia have been acknowledged due to increasing body of evidence, and the current study supports the current data which state that working memory deficits in schizophrenia are consistent, stable and comprehensive. This is particularly relevant for the personal management, and also for the academic, interpersonal and social rehabilitation of schizophrenia patients.
Keywords: schizophrenia, working memory, impairment, cognitive tests