Psychiatry Res, 79(3):241-54.

Auditory P300 amplitude reductions are well-established in young adults with schizophrenia. Little is known, however, regarding the P300 in older schizophrenia patients, especially those with late onset. We studied 28 middle-aged and elderly (mean age = 62.7 years) patients [14 with early onset schizophrenia (EOS) and 14 with late onset schizophrenia (LOS)] and 14 normal comparison (NC) participants using an auditory oddball paradigm. Event-related potentials were recorded from 15 scalp electrodes and six non-scalp sites. There were no significant differences between EOS and LOS groups in neuroleptic dosage, symptom severity, reaction times, target-detection accuracy, or N100 and N200 ERP measures. The EOS, but not the LOS, group had significantly smaller auditory oddball P300 amplitudes than the NC group. Twelve of the 14 LOS patients had P300 amplitudes in the normal range. Smaller P300 amplitudes were associated with earlier age of onset (r = 0.48), longer duration of illness (r = -0.49) and more severe alogia (r = -0.50). We conclude that P300 abnormalities in schizophrenia may be a marker for a disease subtype with early onset and more severe information-processing deficits.