Background: There is controversy about whether late-onset schizophrenia (LOS) is a precursor to cognitive decline.
Aims: To examine the long-term outcome of a group of patients with LOS.
Method: Subjects with DSM-III-R schizophrenia onset ³ 50 years and no dementia and healthy controls were assessed at baseline (n = 27 and 34 respectively), after one and five years (n = 19 and 24 respectively) on measures of psychopathology, cognition and general functioning, and compared on rates of decline and incidence of dementia.
Results: Nine LOS patients and no controls were found to have dementia (5 AD, 1 VaD, 3 dementia of unknown type) at 5-year follow-up. There appeared to be a sub-group of LOS patients without signs of dementia at baseline or 1-year follow-up who subsequently declined in function.
Conclusions: LOS may be a prodrome of Alzheimer-type dementia. The nosological status of LOS will be discussed in the light of this and other longitudinal studies.
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