Schizophrenia Patients' Children Show Signs of Schizotaxia

Article excerpt

MIAMI -- Adolescent children of schizophrenia patients are at increased risk for development of schizophrenia or a related disorder compared with controls. These children also show signs of schizotaxia--including social dysfunction and psychopathology--that can cause significant impairment, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Evidence shows schizotaxia correlates with risk of developing schizophrenia. Criteria for schizotaxia include neuropsychological dysfunction, structural and functional brain abnormalities, and social dysfunction. Schizotaxia emerges in childhood, and therefore could be used to predict precursors of schizophrenia and the disorder itself.

Schizotaxia is not the same as a schizophrenia prodrome; it manifests earlier and is therefore a potential preclinical marker. "There are no good clinical markers now for schizophrenia," said Stephen V. Faraone, Ph.D., director of pediatric psychopharmacology research at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston.

Dr. Faraone and his colleagues assessed 13 children of schizophrenia patients and 35 children of controls. The at-risk children had no signs of schizophrenia. Other researchers evaluated children who already had schizophrenia prodrome symptoms. "This is taking early intervention one step closer to the cause."

The mean age in both groups was 15 years. They were well matched in terms of gender (53% male among children of schizophrenia patients, 45% male among children of controls) and level of education (8. …

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