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Performance of nonpsychotic relatives of schizophrenic patients on cognitive tests. Psychiatry Res

and Kenneth L. Davis, M.D., is Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.68). 08/1994; 53(1):1-12. DOI: 10.1016/0165-1781(94)90091-4

ABSTRACT We tested 54 nonpsychotic first degree relatives of 23 schizophrenic probands and 18 control subjects matched for age and education on several neuropsychological tests. The tests were selected to assess overall intellectual ability or because previous work indicated that they are particularly sensitive measures of cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenic patients. The relatives of schizophrenic patients performed significantly worse than the control subjects on tests of verbal fluency and on Trailmaking, part B. Each of these tests contributed unique variance to the discrimination between groups. The groups did not differ significantly on the number of perserverative errors on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised block design or vocabulary, or Trailmaking, part A. Eight relatives who met DSM-III-R criteria for schizotypal personality disorder were more impaired than the remaining 46 relatives on letter fluency, but otherwise their performance was similar to that of nonschizotypal relatives. These data suggest that close relatives of schizophrenic patients may have subtle neuropsychological impairments that are not necessarily associated with clinical symptoms of schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

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    • "They predict poorer medication (Burton, 2005) and treatment (Prouteau et al, 2004) adherence, reduced adaptive and social skills (Bowie and Harvey, 2005), dysfunctional personality traits (Gurrera et al, 2005), and increased risk of relapse in first-episode patients (Chen et al, 2005). The cognitive dysfunction of schizophrenia appears to involve almost all the known neurotransmitter systems (Tamminga, 2006) and is also be found in probands' non-schizophrenic relatives (Keefe et al, 1994; Sitskoorn et al, 2004). "
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    • "However, previous studies using this strategy are limited by the cross-sectional nature of assessments (Keefe et al., 1994b) and inclusion of second degree relatives, which may dilute the genetic loading for schizophrenia (Whyte et al., 2006). "
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    • "A recent meta-analysis revealed a large effect size (0.68) in category fl uency (Snitz et al., 2006). Verbal fl uency may be signifi cantly correlated with intelligence (Gilvarry et al., 2001); another study reported defi cits in verbal fl uency and executive function among relatives of SZ patients (Keefe et al., 1994). The possibility of verbal fl uency defi cits in young relatives was assessed by the Pittsburgh High-Risk Study (see below) which found signifi cant defi cits at the baseline assessment. "
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