BACKGROUND: Patients with schizophrenia suffer from wide range of deficits in neurocognitive functions of the brain, including visuospatial working memory.
AIMS: This study aims at evaluating the effect of short-term smoking abstinence on different components of visuospatial working memory in smoker patients with schizophrenia as well as possible reversal effect of a nicotine patch.
METHODS: In this trial, 45 male smoker patients with schizophrenia (Razi Hospital, Tabriz, Iran, 2010) were randomly divided into three groups. One group experienced a short time (overnight) smoking abstinence; one group used a single dose of nicotine patch (21 mg) after an overnight smoking abstinence and one group with no intervention or restrain on smoking was considered as control. The function of visuospatial working memory was tested by the brief visuospatial memory test-revised (BVMT-R) at the baseline and after the intervention.
RESULTS: The three groups were matched regarding age, educational level and the initial elements of cognitive performance. Between-the-group analysis showed that patients with an overnight smoking abstinence had a significant decrease in percent retained score and an increase in recognition biases compared to patients using nicotine patch and controls. No significant changes were observed in patints using nicotine patch or controls.
CONCLUSIONS: Smoking abstinence results in visuospatial disabilities in male smoker patients with schizophrenia, including delayed recall and recognition biases.