Olfactory identification deficits in first-episode psychosis may predict patients at risk for persistent negative and disorganized or cognitive symptoms

Am J Psychiatry. 2006 May;163(5):932-3. doi: 10.1176/ajp.2006.163.5.932.


Objective: One-third of patients with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder have a measurable olfactory identification deficit at first examination. The authors studied the relationship of this deficit to symptom remission after 1 year of treatment.

Method: Fifty-eight patients naive to antipsychotic medication who entered the Nova Scotia Early Psychosis Program were symptomatically rated with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) (at baseline and 1 year). At baseline, the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT) was also completed. Remission was determined for four symptom factors derived from the PANSS (positive, negative, cognitive/disorganized, and anxiety/depression). Patients with and without remission were compared on UPSIT scores.

Results: Patients with nonremission of negative and cognitive/disorganized symptoms had significantly lower baseline UPSIT scores compared with patients with remission. UPSIT scores were unrelated to remission of positive or anxiety/depression symptoms.

Conclusions: UPSIT scores can be used to identify patients at risk for persistent negative and disorganized/cognitive symptoms.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Odorants
  • Olfaction Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Olfaction Disorders / epidemiology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Smell / physiology