April 09, 2006

Cognitive Deficits in the Families of Patients With Schizophrenia

There is a new review of the studies that have evaluated cognitive deficits in the families of patients who have schizophrenia. (of course, research has also suggested there are some benefits to having the genes associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - such as enhanced creativity - so the news isn't all bad.

The study conclusion is as follows:

More than 50 peer-reviewed studies have been conducted on cognitive deficits in the families of patients with schizophrenia over the past 25 years, providing convincing evidence for the conclusion that relatives perform significantly lower than that of healthy comparison participants on a range of cognitive measures.

These findings also suggest however that though vulnerability to schizophrenia may be highly heritable, the effect on the diagnosis of any single specific genetic locus may be relatively small.

The most robust finding on deficits among relatives is of impaired verbal memory and executive function (verbal fluency, cognitive flexibility and inhibition, working memory) with a possible underlying deficit in the ability to perform 'maintenance plus' tasks requiring increased effort and higher central executive processing.

Trails B (an 'executive function' task) and the more challenging variants of continuous processing tasks have shown the most significant effect sizes. Studies have, however, only recently begun to address some of the many methodological concerns that may have limited past conclusions.

Source Medscape: Cognitive Deficits in the Families of Patients With Schizophrenia (free registration required)


The conclusions of this study show nothing. From both sides in my familiy, my relatives in the biggest percentage were very eloquent, highly educated, respected in the society, polititans and traders, and still my brother developed schizophrenia. This study gives no clue to his case.

Posted by: Clair at April 10, 2006 12:48 AM

Clair, the studies are giving the "broad picture". Each case is unique, studies only show trends and statistical probabilities. One of my uncles is a businessman, the other fell ill with schiz. They were from different fathers though. Anyway, studies are too broad to give a clue to a personal case. But they help to peek inside the mechanisms of the illness.

Posted by: CopperKettle at April 10, 2006 09:46 AM

i feel, although my brothers are highly motivated, educated and successful at their professions, they still lack a rock solid sense of reason with their personal lives. talking with them can be childish. and, i have sz. martin

Posted by: martin at April 12, 2006 06:03 PM

Post a comment

Please enter this code to enable your comment -
Remember Me?
(you may use HTML tags for style)
* indicates required