Get access

Effects of Tobacco Smoking on Neuropsychological Function in Schizophrenia in Comparison to Other Psychiatric Disorders and Non-psychiatric Controls

Authors

  • Dominique Morisano PhD,

    1. Schizophrenia Division, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Victoria C. Wing PhD,

    1. Schizophrenia Division, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Division of Brain and Therapeutics, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kristi A. Sacco PsyD,

    1. Program for Research in Smokers with Mental Illness (PRISM), Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tamara Arenovich MSc,

    1. Schizophrenia Division, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Biostatistics Program, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tony P. George MD, FRCPC

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Brain and Therapeutics, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Program for Research in Smokers with Mental Illness (PRISM), Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
    • Schizophrenia Division, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author

Address correspondence to Dr. George, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), 250 College Street, CS 734, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 1R8. E-mail: tony_george@camh.net.

Abstract

Background and Objectives

Compared to the general population cigarette smoking prevalence is elevated in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia (SZ), bipolar disorder (BD), and major depressive disorder (MDD). These disorders are also associated with neurocognitive impairments. Cigarette smoking is associated with improved cognition in SZ. The effects of smoking on cognition in BD and MDD are less well studied.

Methods

We used a cross-sectional design to study neuropsychological performance in these disorders as a function of smoking status. Subjects (N = 108) were SZ smokers (n = 32), SZ non-smokers (n = 15), BD smokers (n = 10), BD non-smokers (n = 6), MDD smokers (n = 6), MDD non-smokers (n = 10), control smokers (n = 12), and control non-smokers (n = 17). Participants completed a neuropsychological battery; smokers were non-deprived.

Results

SZ subjects performed significantly worse than controls in select domains, while BD and MDD subjects did not differ from controls. Three verbal memory outcomes were improved in SZ smokers compared with non-smokers; smoking status did not alter performance in BD or MDD.

Conclusions and Scientific Significance

These data suggest that smoking is associated with neurocognitive improvements in SZ, but not BD or MDD. Our data may suggest specificity of cigarette-smoking modulation of neurocognitive deficits in SZ. (Am J Addict 2013;22:46-53)

Ancillary