Olfactory deficits in individuals at risk for psychosis and patients with schizophrenia: relationship with socio-cognitive functions and symptom severity

  • Tsutomu TakahashiEmail author
  • Mihoko Nakamura
  • Daiki Sasabayashi
  • Yuko Komori
  • Yuko Higuchi
  • Yumiko Nishikawa
  • Shimako Nishiyama
  • Hiroko Itoh
  • Yuri Masaoka
  • Michio Suzuki
Original Paper


Odor identification deficits are well documented in patients with schizophrenia, but it remains unclear whether individuals at clinical high-risk for psychosis exhibit similar changes and whether their olfactory function is related to social/cognitive functions and symptomatology. In this study, we investigated odor detection sensitivity and identification ability in 32 individuals with at-risk mental state (ARMS), 59 schizophrenia patients, and 169 healthy controls using a T&T olfactometer. The ARMS and schizophrenia subjects were administered the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS), the Schizophrenia Cognition Rating Scale (SCoRS), and the Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS) to assess their cognitive and social functions, and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) for clinical symptoms. Both the ARMS and schizophrenia subjects had lower odor identification ability when compared with healthy controls, while no significant difference was found in the odor detection sensitivity. The lower odor identification ability in the ARMS group correlated with the severity of negative symptoms and weakly correlated with lower performance on the BACS verbal fluency test. The olfactory measures of schizophrenia patients did not correlate with illness duration, medication, symptom severity, and social and cognitive functions. For the ARMS and schizophrenia groups, the olfactory measures did not correlate with the SOFAS and SCoRS scores. These findings suggest that high-risk subjects for psychosis already show odor identification deficits similar to those observed in schizophrenia patients, which probably reflect a biological trait related to vulnerability to psychosis.


Olfaction High-risk Psychosis Schizophrenia Negative symptoms Cognition 



This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP26461739 to Dr. Takahashi and JP24390281 to Prof. Suzuki and by the Health and Labour Sciences Research Grants for Comprehensive Research on Persons with Disabilities from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) Grant Number 16dk0307029h0003 to Prof. Suzuki. The funding agencies had no role in the design and conduct of the study, collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data, or preparation, review and approval of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest for any of the authors including any financial, personal or other relationships with other people or organizations within 3 years of beginning the submitted work that could inappropriately influence, or be perceived to influence, our work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tsutomu Takahashi
    • 1
    Email author return OK on get
  • Mihoko Nakamura
    • 1
  • Daiki Sasabayashi
    • 1
  • Yuko Komori
    • 1
  • Yuko Higuchi
    • 1
  • Yumiko Nishikawa
    • 1
  • Shimako Nishiyama
    • 1
  • Hiroko Itoh
    • 1
  • Yuri Masaoka
    • 2
  • Michio Suzuki
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neuropsychiatry University of Toyama Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical SciencesToyamaJapan
  2. 2.Department of PhysiologyShowa University School of MedicineTokyoJapan

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