Psychomotor slowing in schizophrenia
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Schizophrenia bulletin. - Rockville, Md
, p. 1038-1053
University of Antwerp
Psychomotor slowing (PS) is a cluster of symptoms that was already recognized in schizophrenia by its earliest investigators. Nevertheless, few studies have been dedicated to the clarification of the nature and the role of the phenomenon in this illness. Moreover, slowed psychomotor functioning is often not clearly delineated from reduced processing speed. The current, first review of all existing literature on the subject discusses the key findings. Firstly, PS is a clinically observable feature that is most frequently established by neuropsychological measures assessing speed of fine movements such as writing or tasks that require rapid fingertip manipulations or the maintenance of maximal speed over brief periods of time in manual activities. Moreover, the slowed performance on the various psychomotor measures has been demonstrated independent of medication and has also been found to be associated with negative symptoms and, to a lesser extent, with positive and depressive symptoms. Importantly, performance on the psychomotor tasks proved related to the patients' social, clinical, and functional outcomes. Several imaging studies showed slowed performance to coincide with dopaminergic striatal activity. Finally, conventional neuroleptics do not improve the patients' PS symptoms, in contrast to the atypical agents that do seem to produce modestly improving effects.