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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 1999 September;40(3):147-58


language: English

Soft neurological signs and apraxias in mood disorders and in schizophrenia

Nucifora D., Calandra C.


Background. This study investigate the frequency of neurological soft signs and apraxias in patients with schizophrenia and mood disorders versus healthy controls and the eventual relationship between the presence of clinical symptoms and course of such disorders.
Methods. The comparative study is carried out with admitted and ambulatory patients of Catania University Psychiatric Clinic and in the Department of Mental Health of AUSL n°5 Messina-District of Taormina and in control subjects. All coming from the city. Inclusion criteria were: absence of neurological disease, a standard neurological performance within normal range, and education levels of at least primary school. All diagnoses were made on the basis of DSM criteria. Subjects of the study were 90 patients, 30 with schizophrenia, 30 with mood disorders and 30 healthy control. Tests used: soft signs scale; apraxias scale; Sans and Saps scales administered to patients with schizophrenia. Some clinical data and significative symptoms are considered.
Results. The results show the presence of minor neurological changes in both diseases with higher prevalence in the group of schizophrenic patients. In addition, the distribution of signs among the two disorders was somewhat different. The higher incidence of neurological soft signs and of apraxias does not appear to be correlated to the prevalence of negative symptoms in schizophrenic subjects but is correlated with the presence of cognitive impairment in subjects affected by mood disorders. It is not possible to find clinical sub-groups.
Conclusions. It seems probable that while the signs observed in schizophrenia are indicative of altered global neurological and psychomotor functioning, those revealed in mood disorders show an a impairment of neuro transmission processes.

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