Specific symptomatological, cognitive profile overlaps between schizophrenia, ASD
There appears to be a subgroup of schizophrenic patients who exhibit autism spectrum disorder (ASD) features characterized by specific symptomatological and cognitive profile, a study has found.
A total of 75 patients with schizophrenia (mean age 42 years; 26.67 percent female) underwent the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) assessments. Clinical, neuropsychological and psychosocial functioning were also measured.
Of the patients, 47 were negative to all the autism scales administered (ADOS-TOT-NEG), 21 were positive to the ADOS Language subdomain (ADOS-L-POS), 21 were positive to the ADOS Reciprocal Social Interaction (RSI) subdomain (ADOS-RSI-POS), 14 were positive to the ADOS Total scale (ADOS-TOT-POS), and nine were positive to the ADI-R scale (ADI-R-POS).
Schizophrenic patients with and without ASD traits differed in terms of demographic (duration of illness), psychopathological (negative symptoms and general psychopathology) and cognitive (working memory and processing speed) functioning. There were no differences observed in psychosocial functioning.
While schizophrenia and ASD are two distinct behavioural outcomes of aberrant neurodevelopment, their overlapping characteristics and potential co-occurrence might pose substantial diagnostic challenges in clinical practice, researchers pointed out. Undiagnosed co-occurring disorders may lead to individuals not receiving appropriate services benefits or treatment.
The present data may thus contribute to better characterize patients with schizophrenia and subsequently develop new procedures and therapeutic tools in a more personalized perspective, researchers said.