Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Childhood Impairment May Presage Schizophrenia

Even before they develop signs of mental illness, some people can exhibit risk factors for disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Larry Seidman, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, and colleagues looked at the associations of neuropsychological data collected at age 7 for 45 adults later diagnosed with schizophrenia, 35 with bipolar disorder, and 101 controls.
Neuropsychological impairments were identified in 42.2% of those who developed schizophrenia, 22.9% of those with bipolar disorder, and 7% of controls. The profile of childhood deficits for those with schizophrenia did not differ significantly from those in bipolar disorder subjects, said the authors, online May 11 in Psychological Medicine. Psychosis in first-degree relatives significantly increased the severity of childhood neuropsychological impairment in schizophrenia subjects but not those with bipolar disorder.
“[This suggests] especially impaired neurodevelopment underlying cognition in pre-schizophrenia children,” said the researchers. “Future work should assess genetic and environmental factors that explain this family history effect.”
To read more in Psychiatric News about risk factors for schizophrenia, click here.
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