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The effect of smoking on continous attention in patients with schizophrenia and healthy volunteers

Nazan Dolu, Çiğdem Özesmi, Ertuğrul Eşel, Cem Süer, Hatice Kafadar, Canan Gül Kılıç, Sirel Karakaş.

Abstract
Objective: "Cancellation Test" developed by Weintraub and
Mesulam in the 1980's is a test used to measure continuous
attention. The current study using the cancellation test aims
to measure continuous attention in schizophrenic patients,
characterized by disorder in data-processing and failure in
focusing attention, and to investigate the effect of smoking
on attention and performance.

Method: The study group
consisted of 30 healthy individuals and 30 schizophrenics (15
smokers and 15 non-smokers). The subjects were given 4
subtest which included characters and figures of regular and
irregular shapes, and they were requested to mark the
repetition of the letter A, which was the target in tests where
characters were used, and of a given targeted shape in test
where irregular figures were used. The length of time for the
subject to complete the test (LTCT) was determined using a
chronometer, and the total number of the targets marked
(TNTM), the total number of the missed targets (TNMT), the
total number of the incorrectly marked targets (TNIMT), the
time to complete the test were calculated. The smokers
received the test at the end of an half-an-hour period of
smoking preceded by a 24-hour period of no smoking. The
non-smoker on the other hand received the test and after half
an hour repeated it.

Results: There were significant
differences for TNTM, TNMT, TNIMT and LTCT between the
control and schizophrenic group (p

Key words: schizophrenia, cancellation test, continuous attention, smoking



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