Do schizotypal symptoms mediate the relationship between genetic risk for schizophrenia and impaired neuropsychological performance in co-twins of schizophrenic patients?

Biol Psychiatry 2003 Dec;54(11):1200-4

Department of Psychology (JKJ), University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California California 90095-1563, USA.

Background: Neurocognitive deficits and symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder are both elevated in the first-degree relatives of schizophrenic patients, but their relationship to each other and their potential common genetic source remain unclear.

Methods: Fifty unaffected co-twins of schizophrenic patients and 123 control twins were assessed with a neuropsychological battery and structured clinical interviews.

Results: Working memory was influenced by genetic risk for schizophrenia but not schizotypal symptoms. Nearly all other domains were influenced by schizotypy symptoms but only in the co-twins of schizophrenic patients. Schizotypy symptoms in the absence of a family history did not seem to be related to impaired neurocognitive functioning.

Conclusions: Schizotypy symptoms in those with genetic risk for schizophrenia are associated with increased risk for cognitive deficits. Some neurocognitive deficits might covary with subpsychotic symptoms due to a shared genetic factor. Community-ascertained schizotypal individuals might not be appropriate for modeling underlying genetic risk for schizophrenia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0006-3223(03)00637-1DOI Listing
December 2003
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