In a sample of 60 schizophrenic patients encompassing all grades of severity and chronicity memory impairment was found to be prevalent, often substantial, and disproportionate to the overall level of intellectual impairment. The deficits were not easily attributable to poor cooperation, attention or motivation; nor were they related to neuroleptic or anticholinergic medication. Memory impairment was significantly associated with severity and chronicity of illness and also with negative symptoms and formal thought disorder. There was evidence from the sample as a whole, and from a more detailed examination of five patients with relatively isolated deficits, that schizophrenic memory impairment conformed to the pattern seen in the classical amnesic syndrome. Additionally, there was preliminary evidence for a marked deficit in semantic memory.
c1 Address for correspondence: Dr P. J. McKenna, Fulbourn Hospital, Cambridge CBI 5EF.