BACKGROUND Late-onset schizophrenia (LOS) may have a basis in age-related coarse brain disease, but empirical support for this is conflicting.
AIMS Is LOS characterised by more neurological disease than early-onset schizophrenia (EOS)?
METHODS DSM-III-R-defined LOS subjects (n = 27) were compared with 30 EOS and 34 volunteer control subjects on neurological status, neuropsychological test performance and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
RESULTS LOS and EOS groups had more 'soft' neurological signs and drug-induced movement abnormalities, and performed more poorly on tests assessing speed of information processing, memory and frontal executive functioning. On MRI, the LOS and EOS groups had greater lateral ventricular size than the control group. The LOS subjects also had more signal hyperintensities in periventricular white matter and subcortical nuclei than controls.
CONCLUSIONS LOS and EOS subjects were very similar on neuropsychological, neurological and structural neuroimaging parameters, except that there were more MRI periventricular hyperintensities in LOS subjects.