Schizophrenia patients using atypical medication perform better in visual tasks than patients using typical medication

Schizophrenia (SCZ) patients show deficits in many domains, including cognition and perception. However, results are often mixed. One reason for mixed results may be differences in medication. Very little is known about the role of medication in visual processing. Here, we investigated the effects of typical vs. atypical medication on contrast sensitivity (spatial frequencies ranging from 0.2 to 20 cycles per degree), vernier acuity, and visual backward masking. From a large pool of patients, we selected 50 patients (Study 1, conducted in Brazil) and 97 patients (Study 2, conducted in Georgia) taking either only typical or atypical medication. Patients with atypical medication performed significantly better than patients with typical medication for contrast sensitivity, vernier duration, and backward masking. As a secondary result, we found similar, but not significant, trends for the cognitive tasks (Stroop, Flanker, Trail-Making Test-B, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test and Continuous Performance Test) in the same patients. No correlations were found between demographics, psychopathology, chlorpromazine equivalents and visual processing. A conclusion of our study is that one needs to be careful comparing studies when medication is not comparable.

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Psychiatry Research, 275, 31-38
May 01 2019

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 Record created 2019-06-18, last modified 2020-10-29

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