Attention/vigilance in schizophrenia: Performance results from a large multi-site study of the Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (COGS)
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2015.01.017
Attention/vigilance impairments are present in individuals with schizophrenia across psychotic and remitted states and in their first-degree relatives. An important question is whether deficits in attention/vigilance can be consistently and reliably measured across sites varying in many participant demographic, clinical, and functional characteristics, as needed for large-scale genetic studies of endophenotypes. We examined Continuous Performance Test (CPT) data from phase 2 of the Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (COGS-2), the largest-scale assessment of cognitive and psychophysiological endophenotypes relevant to schizophrenia. The CPT data from 2251 participants from five sites were examined. A perceptual-load vigilance task (the Degraded Stimulus CPT or DS-CPT) and a memory-load vigilance task (CPT-Identical Pairs or CPT-IP) were utilized. Schizophrenia patients performed more poorly than healthy comparison subjects (HCS) across sites, despite significant site differences in participant age, sex, education, and racial distribution. Patient-HCS differences in signal/noise discrimination (d') in the DS-CPT varied significantly across sites, but averaged a medium effect size. CPT-IP performance showed large patient-HCS differences across sites. Poor CPT performance was independent of or weakly correlated with symptom severity, but was significantly associated with lower educational achievement and functional capacity. Current smoking was associated with poorer CPT-IP d'. Patients taking both atypical and typical antipsychotic medication performed more poorly than those on no or atypical antipsychotic medications, likely reflecting their greater severity of illness. We conclude that CPT deficits in schizophrenia can be reliably detected across sites, are relatively independent of current symptom severity, and are related to functional capacity.