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Psychotic Experiences Linked to Cognitive Changes

From: Psychcentral.com



“Recent research suggests that people who have psychotic experiences, but no diagnosis of psychotic illness, have altered cognitive functioning compared with people without psychotic experiences.”

“A substantial minority of the general population, around six percent, experiences subclinical psychotic experiences, report MSc student Josephine Mollon of King’s College London, UK, and colleagues in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.”

“Both disorders share risk factors such as low IQ, childhood maltreatment, and stressful life events, as well as similar brain scan results such as deficits in grey and white matter.”

“The researchers looked at neuropsychological functioning and psychotic experiences in adults, taking into account sociodemographic characteristics and age. They used information gathered from household surveys covering 1,677 people aged 16 years or older, living in two areas of London, UK. Average age was 40 years.”
“Participants’ psychotic experiences were measured using the Psychosis Screening Questionnaire, which is administered by an interviewer. It assesses psychotic experiences in the previous year, covering thought disorder, paranoia, strange experiences, and hallucinations. The tool also covers hypomania, a mild form of mania, marked by elation and hyperactivity, but this was not assessed as the focus was on psychosis.”

“Cognitive functioning was measured with a series of tests looking at verbal knowledge (using a reading test), working memory, general memory, and cognitive processing speed. From this, an overall IQ score was calculated.”
“One in ten of the participants had previously had psychotic experiences. This group was not significantly different from those without psychotic experiences on overall IQ or processing speed. But they scored less highly on verbal knowledge, working memory, and general memory.”

“Medium to large impairments in cognitive functioning were seen among participants aged 50 years and older with psychotic experiences. These differences remained once socioeconomic status, cannabis use, and common mental disorders were taken into account.”

“The team writes, “The profile of cognitive impairment in adults with psychotic experiences differed from that seen in adults with psychotic disorders, suggesting important differences between subclinical and clinical psychosis.””

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