Publication details

Cortisol level and memory functioning in first episode schizophrenia

Authors

HAVELKA David PŘIKRYLOVÁ KUČEROVÁ Hana PŘIKRYL Radovan ČEŠKOVÁ Eva

Year of publication 2015
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Description One of the most common findings related to cognition in schizophrenia is dysfunction of episodic and working memory. A number of studies proved that schizophrenia patients exhibit HPA axis function alterations and also tendency to have higher basal cortisol levels in comparison to healthy controls. Although an inverse correlation between cortisol level and memory function has been proved in many diagnoses and in chronic schizophrenia, few studies have focused on the relationship between cortisol level and cognitive impairment in patients with first episode schizophrenia. In the sample of 23 male patients diagnosed with first-episode schizophrenia, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity (basal cortisol levels, post-dexamethasone cortisol levels) were measured before and at the end of acute treatment. Psychopathology was assessed using the positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS). Memory and executive functions were tested after symptom alleviation using a neurocognitive test battery. It was found that higher basal cortisol levels before treatment are related to impaired performance in memory functions. No correlation was found between memory or executive functions and post-dexamethasone cortisol levels. There were no differences between the group of suppressors and non-suppressors in relation to memory. Results of the study indicate that basal cortisol levels can point out to the risk of memory function deterioration in first episode schizophrenia patients.In other words, the determination of basal cortisol levels may serve to detect potential candidates for specific cognitive intervention.