Cognitive deficits represent a significant characteristic of schizophrenia. However, a majority of the clinical studies have been conducted in antipsychotic drug treated patients. Thus, it remains unclear if significant cognitive impairments exist in the absence of medication. This is the first meta-analysis of cognitive findings in drug-naïve patients with schizophrenia. Cognitive data from 23 studies encompassing 1106 patients and 1385 controls published from 1992 to 2013 were included. Tests were to a large extent ordered in cognitive domains according to the Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (MATRICS) battery. Analysis was performed with STATA using the random-effects model and heterogeneity as well as Egger's publication bias was assessed. Overall the results show that patients performed worse than healthy controls in all cognitive domains with medium to large effect sizes. Verbal memory, speed of processing and working memory were three of the domains with the greatest impairments. The pattern of results is in line with previous meta-analytic findings in antipsychotic treated patients. The present meta-analysis confirms the existence of significant cognitive impairments at the early stage of the illness in the absence of antipsychotic medication. © 2014 The Authors.
Fatouros-Bergman, H., Cervenka, S., Flyckt, L., Edman, G., & Farde, L. (2014). Meta-analysis of cognitive performance in drug-naïve patients with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 158(1–3), 156–162. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2014.06.034