Cognitive impairment and development of dementia in very late-onset schizophrenia-like psychosis: a systematic review

Victoria X Yang, Chun Chiang Sin Fai Lam, Joseph P M Kane*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

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Abstract

Objectives:
This study aimed to review the evidence base regarding cognitive impairment and the development of dementia in patients with very late-onset schizophrenia-like psychosis (VLOSLP).

Methods:
We conducted a systematic literature search of PubMed, PsycINFO and Web of Science according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA) guidelines. Two reviewers independently screened records first by title and abstract and then by full text, resolving differences after each stage. Selected studies were assessed for quality using the GRADE system, and data on study design, participants, cognitive ability and rates of developing dementia were extracted and synthesised.

Results:
Seventeen publications were identified for review. They were generally poor in quality and heterogenous in design. VLOSLP patients were found to have impaired global cognition compared to non-psychotic controls, but no difference was found between VLOSLP patients and aged early-onset schizophrenia (EOS) patients. No single cognitive domain was consistently affected. Patients with VLOSLP demonstrated significantly higher rates of dementia diagnosis (ranging from 4.4% over 3 years to 44.4% over 15 years) than controls, but no difference was found between VLOSLP patients and aged EOS patients.

Conclusions:
VLOSLP may not necessarily predict cognitive decline, but few studies have adequately investigated cohorts on a longitudinal basis. Heterogeneity between and within cohorts and varying selection criteria compromise the clinical generalisability of studies investigating the association between VLOSLP and neurodegenerative disease. Further studies on the clinical presentation, cognitive profile and neuropathology of VLOSLP with comparison to EOS/late-onset schizophrenia (LOS) and neurodegenerative disease are needed to better inform the diagnosis and management of VLOSLP.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIrish Journal of Psychological Medicine
Early online date30 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 30 Jun 2021

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