Verbal memory and voxel based morphometry in first episode non-affective psychosis: A process oriented approach.

Objective: The present study aimed to comprehensively study the specific neurocognitive constructs underlying verbal memory deficits and their neuroanatomical correlates in first episode psychosis (FEP) patients. Method: A total of 218 FEP patients and 145 healthy participants were examined with the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (a widely used verbal memory measure that provides a range of performance indexes to evaluate memory) and voxel-based morphometry (a neuroimaging analysis technique that allows investigation of focal differences in brain anatomy). Results: The analyses showed that the FEP group presented significantly lower scores on acquisition/learning, F(1, 566) = 40.7; p < .001, and delayed recall, F(1, 570) = 74.12; p < .001, as well as higher rates of forgetting, F(1, 566) = 20.03; p < .001. They also exhibited a significant sensitivity to retroactive, F(1, 554) = 8.74; p = .003, but not to proactive interference. Neuroimaging analyses found significant interactions between bilateral frontal lobe morphometry and proactive interference (ρFWE = 0.023). Rate of forgetting also significantly interacted with right occipital cortex morphometry (ρFWE = 0.033). Patients with higher rates of forgetting, proactive and retroactive interference demonstrated further gray matter reductions in frontal and occipital cortical areas. Conclusions: These findings emphasize the anterior orbitofrontal cortex as the brain region that contributes to verbal memory deficits in FEP patients, and suggest specific relationships between different neuroanatomical structures and discrete verbal memory processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)