EXECUTIVE FUNCTION AND DECISION-MAKING IN COLOMBIAN PATIENTS WITH PARANOID SCHIZOPHRENIA
Schizophrenia (SCZD) is a mental disorder characterized by cognitive dysfunction, impaired decision-making abilities, abnormalities in brain functioning, and specific genetic markers. Ethnic and racial factors influence the development and presentation of schizophrenia, with different groups experiencing different levels of risk and exhibiting different patterns of mental disorders. Objective: We sought to investigate the executive function and decision-making profile of Schizophrenia participants from Barranquilla, Colombia, which have a high genetic mixture and significant ethnic and racial diversity. Methods: The sample consists of 40 individuals, 20 diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and 20 controls. We use the BANFE neuropsychological battery and the Iowa Gambling task to measure executive function and decision-making processes. Results: The study found differences in cognitive performance, measured by the Neuropsychological Battery of Executive Functions and Frontal Lobes, in the medial orbit, anterior prefrontal, dorsolateral, and total executive function measures. In decision-making, as measured by the Iowa Gambling Test, there were also differences between the two groups, with those with schizophrenia performing worse and showing a preference for disadvantageous options. The study also found that there were no significant differences in socio-demographic characteristics between the two groups but that there were differences in terms of socio-economic status and educational level. Conclusion: This study found that individuals with paranoid schizophrenia had significant differences in their prefrontal cortex compared to those without the condition, specifically in the dorsolateral and orbital-prefrontal cortex. These differences may be linked to difficulties adjusting to their environment and processing reinforcement, leading to impaired learning and arousal disturbances.