Patients with schizophrenia and water imbalance may represent a subset of patients with distinct pathophysiological abnormalities and susceptibility to cognitive impairment. Specifically, patients with polydipsia and hyponatremia have been shown to have smaller anterior hippocampal volumes, which are also associated with various impairments in neuroendocrine function. To determine whether abnormalities in patients with water imbalance extend to the cognitive realm, the present study evaluated neuropsychological functioning in three groups of patients with schizophrenia: polydipsic hyponatremic, polydipsic normonatremic, and nonpolydipsic normonatremic. Participants were administered cognitive tests assessing intelligence, attention, learning/memory (verbal, nonverbal, emotional), and facial discrimination. Hyponatremic patients showed poorer overall neuropsychological functioning relative to all other patients, and polydipsic normonatremic patients performed intermediate to the other two groups. Results indicate that patients with schizophrenia and polydipsia, and particularly those with hyponatremia, show prominent cognitive deficits relative to patients without water imbalance. The clinical, neuroendocrine, and cognitive abnormalities in these patients may arise from pathology within the anterior hippocampus and associated prefrontal/limbic brain regions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology