This narrative review examines recently published research that examines the prevalence, underlying causes, and treatments for dementia among people with schizophrenia.
People with schizophrenia have high rates of dementia, compared with the general population, and cognitive decline has been observed 14 years prior to onset of psychosis with accelerated decline in middle age. Underlying mechanisms of cognitive decline in schizophrenia include low cognitive reserve, accelerated cognitive aging, cerebrovascular disease and medication exposure. Although pharmacologic, psychosocial and lifestyle interventions show early promise for preventing and mitigating cognitive decline, few studies have been conducted in older people with schizophrenia.
Recent evidence supports accelerated cognitive decline and brain changes in middle-aged and older people with schizophrenia, relative to the general population. More research in older people with schizophrenia is needed to tailor existing cognitive interventions and develop novel approaches for this vulnerable and high-risk group.