Brain Atrophy in First-Episode Psychosis of the Elderly Is Associated With Cognitive Decline

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Objective: To study brain atrophy and cognitive decline in elderly patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP). Methods: Elderly patients aged ≥ 60 years with FEP and onset of psychotic symptoms of ≤ 1 year remitted to the Helsinki University Hospital from December 2009 to December 2011 were included in the study. Diagnoses were made using DSM-IV-TR criteria. All patients had a brain scan, magnetic resonance imaging, or computed tomography. Cognitive performance was assessed using the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer`s Disease cognitive test battery. Results: Of the 85 patients with FEP, 18 had very late-onset schizophrenia-like psychosis (VLOSP), 20 had delusional psychosis, 12 had depressive psychosis, and 35 had psychosis due to a general medical condition. Fifteen of the patients had an earlier history of schizophrenia not known at the time of admittance. These patients were analyzed separately. A vast majority of the FEP patients in all diagnostic groups exhibited signs of cortical atrophy, which was associated with early stage cognitive decline. Multivariate analyses showed that brain atrophy was associated with a decline in Mini-Mental State Examination, Clock Drawing Test, and verbal fluency scores in FEP patients. Conclusions: Brain atrophy is a frequent finding in elderly FEP patients and is associated with cognitive decline. Elderly patients with FEP should always undergo brain atrophy and cognition screening, as they may constitute an etiologic factor in such patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20m02865
JournalThe primary care companion for CNS disorders
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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Fields of Science

  • 3112 Neurosciences
  • 3124 Neurology and psychiatry

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