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Schizophrenic Mothers’ Children Prone to Problems

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Neurologic abnormalities are common in offspring of mothers with schizophrenia, researchers report. However, such abnormalities are not usually seen in the offspring of mothers with other mental disorders.

Neurologic abnormalities are common in offspring of mothers with schizophrenia, researchers report. However, such abnormalities are not usually seen in the offspring of mothers with other mental disorders. Drs. Thomas F. McNeil and Erland W. Schubert, from Lund University, in Sweden, studied 75 young adult offspring of mothers with schizophrenia or other psychoses such as bipolar disorder, and compared them with 91 offspring of mothers with no history of psychosis. Neurological abnormalities had been assessed in these subjects in infancy and at 6 years of age. In the current study, in the June issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, they were examined at an average age of 22. The final group consisted of 28 offspring of mothers with schizophrenia, 22 offspring of mothers with “affective psychosis” and 88 comparison subjects. The adult children of mothers with schizophrenia had significantly more neurological abnormalities than both offspring of mothers with affective psychosis and of mothers with no history of psychosis. About a third of those with schizophrenic mothers had neurologic aberrations such as primitive reflexes, involuntary movements, and cranial nerve abnormalities. Overall, no significant differences were seen between offspring of mothers with affective psychosis and comparison subjects. Given these findings, the researchers conclude that familial risk of schizophrenia “is associated with neurodevelopmental disturbance that is manifest throughout life and belongs to a different biological continuum from that of affective psychosis.” (SOURCE: American Journal of Psychiatry: Reuters Health News: June 2004.)

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Posted On: 1 July, 2004
Modified On: 5 December, 2013

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