Project Details


Alcoholism is a major health concern in schizophrenia (SZ) because of the remarkably high comorbidity of the two disorders. Both chronic alcoholism or SZ may result in profound cognitive impairment, particularly in learning and memory. While past studies have found the combined effects of alcoholism and SZ may exacerbate patients' symptomatology little is know, about the impact alcoholism has on SZ patients' cognitive functioning. Studies examining alcoholic nonSZ patients have found some memory deficits reverse themselves within 2-3 weeks of cessation of alcohol use. Recovery of memory functions has been associated with increased regional cerebral blood flow associated with alcohol abstinence. It is unknown if alcoholic SZ patients will have the same resiliency to recover from cortical injury associated with alcohol binges as their nonSZ alcoholic counterparts. No study to date has examined the nature, extent and stability of memory impairment in alcoholic SZ patients. The present study, consequently, will determine the extent of alcoholic SZ memory impairment and the resiliency of SZ patients to recover from alcohol induced memory impairment. Towards this end, we will examine visual and verbal learning and memory functions, abuse patterns and severity of clinical symptomatology in alcoholic SZ (n=3) at two time points: (T1) when patients first present to the psychiatric emergency service alcohol intoxicated (defined as blood alcohol levels exceeding 100 mg/dl) and again (T2) after 30 days of hospital admission and alcohol abstinence. SZ patients (n=30) presenting for emergency services without any substance abuse comorbidity will be tested in the same time frame and serve as the control group. All study patients will meet DSM-IV criteria for alcohol abuse/dependence and/or SZ as determined by the SCID. We will also assess the relationship between alcoholic SZ patients' abuse patterns to cognitive impairment, symptom variables and short-term outcome.
Effective start/end date30/09/9731/08/98




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