February 13, 2005

Lunch-time Behavior and Schiz

Could youngsters' behaviour while eating lunch predict which ones will develop schizophrenia? According to the results of a study headed by Jason Schiffman, Ph.D., the answer is yes.

Some 9,000 children were born in a particular hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, between 1959 and 1961. In 1972, when the children were between 11 and 13 years of age, some 250 were selected for an investigation into the early signs of schizophrenia. One aspect of the study consisted of videotaping the youngsters while eating lunch to record their social behaviour and neuromotor skills.

These adolescents were followed up in 1992, when they were between the ages of 31 and 33, to determine whether any of them had been diagnosed with schizophrenia or other psychiatric disorders.

The researchers found that the adolescents who later developed schizophrenia had, on average, a lower total score on a sociability scale including smiles, laughs, and vocalizations than did adolescents who developed other kinds of psychopathology or remained free of mental disorder.

Boys who later developed schizophrenia scored, on average, higher on a neuromotor scale consisting of involuntary facial movements, raised elbows, nystagmus-like eye movements, and other abnormal movements than did boys who developed other psychopathology or none.

Another study that shows that compared with non-schizophrenic patients with the first-episode of psychosis, avoidant personality is the most common premorbid personality dimensions in first-episode schizophrenia patients.

Source: American Journal of Psychiatry, November 2004

Personality Dimensions in First-Episode Psychoses, The American Journal of Psychiatry, January, 2005


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