Schizophrenic women show deficits in a variety of cognitive domains including executive function, attention, memory, and language. The female sex hormone estrogen acts as a neuroactive hormone that is assumed to have interesting effects on the central nervous system and on the cognitive functions in specific.
Aim of the work
To determine the memory impairment in a sample of schizophrenic female patients, as well as its relation to the level of their female sex hormone estradiol, to evaluate the usefulness of hormonal therapy as an adjunct therapy to antipsychotic drugs in female schizophrenic patients to improve their cognitive functions.
Participants and methods
This is a comparative study that included 30 schizophrenic female patients who were admitted for a long time as inpatients of Al Abasseia Psychiatric Hospital, and a control group that matched in age and education. They were subjected to a psychiatric interview, neurological examination, general examination, the scale for the assessment of positive symptoms, and scale for the assessment of negative symptoms, serum estradiol level during 3 consecutive weeks, and the Luria–Nebraska neuropsychological battery, which is a multidimensional battery designed to assess a broad range of neuropsychological functions. (We focused on the items that tested memory functions).
There were statistically significant differences between both groups in the clinical scales C10 (memory) of the Luria–Nebraska neuropsychological battery, as well the factor scales concerned with memory ME1 (verbal memory) and ME2 (visual and complex memory). The mean estradiol level was inversely correlated with the mean of the memory scales; that is, an increased estradiol level was correlated with better performance of the patient group in memory scales.
Female schizophrenic patients performed significantly worse in the memory scale (C10), as well as the factor scales concerned with memory ME1 (verbal memory) and ME2 (visual and complex memory); the increased estradiol level was correlated with better performance of the patient group in memory scales, which may be of value in these patients when providing hormonal therapy as an adjunct therapy to antipsychotic drugs.