Neurological soft signs and their relationship to 1-year outcome in first-episode schizophrenia
|Type:||Article in Periodical|
|Keywords:||soft signs; first episode schizophrenia; outcome|
Objective: (a) to find a relationship between the severity of neurological soft signs at the beginning of the disease and at the one-year follow-up of schizophrenia, and (b) to investigate temporal stability of neurological soft signs within one year from the first episode schizophrenia. Methods: The trial included 92 first-episode male schizophrenic patients. Neurological soft signs were assessed on the Neurological Evaluation Scale (NES) during index hospitalization and at a one-year follow-up. The patients were divided into remitters and non-remitters according to their psychic state assessed at the one year follow-up, using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Results: A trend of a lower score for the NES item "others" in late remitters versus non-remitters during was found during index hospitalization. At the one-year follow-up, the overall severity of the neurological soft signs was statistically significantly higher in non-remitters than in remitters. Within one year after index hospitalization, a significant reduction of neurological soft signs, with the exception of sensory integration, occurred in remitters. Within one year after index hospitalization, the non-remitters reported a significant reduction of the overall NES score. Conclusion: Our study of the population of patients with first episode schizophrenia is in accord with the findings of those existing studies which had found a connection between neurological soft signs, treatment reactivity and outcome. This association may characterize a subgroup of patients with a poor illness course and outcome. Neurological soft signs might be regarded as one of the indicators of treatment outcome in patients suffering from their first episode of schizophrenia.