Extrapyramidal symptoms and cognitive test performance in patients with schizophrenia

Gagan Fervaha, Ofer Agid, Hiroyoshi Takeuchi, Jimmy Lee, George Foussias, Konstantine K. Zakzanis, Ariel Graff-Guerrero, Gary Remington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Movement disorders are common in individuals with schizophrenia, even in those who are not exposed to antipsychotic medications. Extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) are among the most common abnormal movements in schizophrenia, but their relationship with other features of the illness such as cognition is not well characterized. Methods: Three hundred and twenty-five individuals with schizophrenia who were not receiving any antipsychotic or anticholinergic medication and participated in the baseline visit of the Clinical Antipsychotic Treatment of Intervention Effectiveness study were included in the present study. EPSs were assessed using the Simpson-Angus Scale, while cognition was measured with a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery. The relationship between EPS and cognitive test performance was evaluated both dimensionally and categorically. Results: Greater severity of EPS was significantly associated with worse cognitive test performance evaluated using a composite score. Eighty-six patients were identified as having parkinsonism and these patients performed worse on cognitive tests than non-parkinsonian patients. These findings remained significant even after accounting for other variables such as severity of psychopathology, sedation, akathisia and dyskinesia. Conclusions: The present results demonstrate that severity of EPS is reliably linked with poorer scores on tests of cognition. While this may reflect a common pathophysiology underlying neuromotor and neurocognitive deficits, it may also be the case that parkinsonian symptoms such as rigidity and bradykinesia impede test taking ability. Regardless of mechanism, inferences regarding cognitive impairment should take into account the presence of EPS, as well as other variables that may mediate cognitive test findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-356
Number of pages6
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Feb 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Motor symptoms
  • Neurocognition
  • Parkinsonism
  • Psychomotor slowing
  • Psychotic disorder
  • Side effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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