July 06, 2004

Abnormalities in Children of Schizophrenic Mothers

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology

New evidence just in for the role of heredity in schizophrenia.

A study in the American Journal of Psychology shows that an significantly increased percentage of offspring from mothers with schizophrenia have neurological abnormalities, as compared to the offspring of normal mothers OR to the offspring of mothers with affective psychosis.

The study evaluated the children of mothers with schizophrenia, mothers with affective psychosis, and mothers with no history of psychiatric disorder. The children were tested for neurological abnormalities (such as primitive reflexes, involuntary movement, and cranial nerve abnormalities) at infancy, age 6, and young adulthood (mean age 22.4 years).

Results found a high percentage of offspring who showed abnormalities at 6 years old still retained these abnormalities at age 22. This correlation was not observed for those offspring who only showed abnormal neurologic symptoms at infancy, but not during later stages of development.

Researchers concluded that the 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."

I personally interpret this as: Try not to be overly concerned about the tendencies of infants and very young children - wait and see how they continue to develop.

For the full news article, see 'Neurological Problems Common in Offspring of Schizophrenia Mothers' (Medscape News - www.medscape.com, July 6 2004)

For more info about the heritability of schizophrenia in families, see 'Heredity and the Genetics of Schizophrenia.'

For info on what you can do to help lower your (and your children's) risk of developing schizophrenia or related psychotic disorders, see Schizophrenia - Causes and Prevention


I'm just wondering how you can explain to a child of 7 about this illness. His father has it. He is verbally abused by his father. He is often told by his dad that he is not his son. Good thing they don't live together.

Posted by: gigi at April 22, 2008 10:25 PM

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