Cognitive Deficits in Childhood Associated with Later Mental Disorders

HealthDay News – Specific cognitive deficits in childhood are clearly linked to various mental disorders such as borderline personality disorder, depression and psychosis in teenagers and young adults, according to a study published online April 7 in JAMA Network Open.

Isabel Morales-Muñoz, Ph.D. from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, and colleagues used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children in the United Kingdom (with a child born April 1, 1991, through December 31, 1992) to determine whether cognitive deficits in childhood precede mental disorders in adolescence and young adulthood. The analysis included 5,315 people with psychopathological measures.

The researchers found associations between higher sustained attention after 8 years and a reduced risk of symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) between the ages of 11 and 12 years (adjusted odds ratio) [aOR], 0.964), better performance in inhibition at the age of 10 and a reduced risk of psychotic experiences between the ages of 17 and 18 years (aOR, 0.938), higher sustained alertness at the age of 8, and a reduced risk of depressive symptoms aged 17 to 18 years (aOR, 0.969) and better working memory performance at 10 years of age and lower risk of symptoms of hypomania at 22 to 23 years of age (aOR, 0.694). All associations persisted when a possible psychopathological overlay was checked, with the exception of working memory and hypomania.

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“These results suggest that certain cognitive deficits should be viewed as targeted endophenotypes in predicting and intervening for certain mental disorders such as borderline personality disorder, depression, and psychosis,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract / full text


Depression Neurocognitive Disorders Pediatric Neurology Psychosis

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