International Congress on Schizophrenia Research edition:8 location:Whistler, British Columbia date:2001
The Trail Making Test (TMT) is considered to be an important indicator of a number of cognitive functions, including attention, sequencing, mental flexibility, visual search and fine motor coordination of the hand. The performance of schizophrenic patients on this test has repeatedly been shown to be impaired. To evaluate the importance of motor dysfunctions in schizophrenic patients' TMT performance, we compared this with their performance on the Attention Diagnostic Method (ADM) and Reitan's Finger Tapping Test (FTT). The ADM offers the opportunity to evaluate attention and working memory independent of the patient's motor coordination capacities. An analysis of 81 young schizophrenic patients' test performance showed them to be inferior on all measures to 81 controls, matched for gender, age and education. For schizophrenic patients, a correlation of ADM and TMT measures was found, but not of FTT and TMT measures. It is concluded that schizophrenic patients' inferior TMT performance is mainly due to dysfunctions in either attention, sequencing, mental flexibility or visual search, and independent of motor dysfunction.