NARSAD Grantee Helps Uncover Schizophrenia Warning Sign

Debra Titone, Ph.D. at McGill University, Expert on schizophrenia and schizophrenia warning signs
Debra Titone, Ph.D.

A recent study, led in part by NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee Debra Titone, Ph.D. at McGill University, indicates that patients with schizophrenia are likely to have problems with reading fluency. This discovery may become a possible schizophrenia warning sign and help in early diagnosis and intervention.

While prior research has linked abnormalities in eye movements with schizophrenia, reading ability has been thought to be unaffected. In this study, the researchers went beyond the usual single-word reading tests and evaluated eye movement while study participants read simple sentences. Evaluating twenty patients with schizophrenia and sixteen non-psychiatric participants, they found that patients with schizophrenia had greater difficulty reading quickly, processing individual words and processing upcoming words—all of which would aid in reading fluency.

The findings were published in the February issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. In addition to offering a potential schizophrenia early warning sign, Dr. Titone adds that, "Improving reading through intervention in people with schizophrenia may be important to improving their ability to function in society."

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