December 20, 2006

Minor Physical Anomalies May be Biomarker for Childhood Schizophrenia

Nearly 30 years ago in her book, Childhood Schizophrenia, Dr. Shiela Cantor described the numerous, sometimes subtle, physical anomalies that have been found in a significant percentage of very young children diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Researchers have continued to investigate the development of a scale of physical anomalies as a potential biomarker of schizophrenia risk.

In an effort to create a more effective biomarker scale, using 218 people with schizophrenia compared with 228 controls, researchers from Japan started with 11 items from the Waldrop scale of physical anomalies weakly associated with schizophrenia, and further studied anomalies not on that scale.

The results, published in Psychiatry Research, found a scale of six items that were independently associated with schizophrenia – high palate, low-seated ear, cuspidal ear, strabismus, hypertelorism, and adherent ear lobes. Two of these items, strabismus (crossed-eyes) and cuspidal ear (ears with angled ridges instead of a round curve at the top of the opening into the ear canal) are considered "novel", although Dr. Cantor had mentioned the strabismus in her 1988 book Childhood Schizophrenia.

Using the revised scale, the research team correctly classified 59.6% of schizophrenia patients and 78.9% of controls. However, the researchers Kiyoshi Yoshitsugu (RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Saitama, Japan) and colleagues noted:

"To determine the validity of this subset of variables, further studies in different ethnic populations are required.

[If] validity is established, the scale could be effectively used in ... genetic studies of schizophrenia by stratifying patients based on the currently proposed minor physical anomalies."

Read the article: Minor physical anomalies may predict schizophrenia
Original Source: A novel scale including strabismus and ‘cuspidal ear’ for distinguishing schizophrenia patients from controls using minor physical anomalies (Psychiatry Research Vol. 145)

More Reading on Schizophrenia and Physical Anomalies:
Neurodevelopment and Schizophrenia


I'm sure you only allow pro psychiatry comments, so any comment like schizophrenia doesn't exist as a brain disease will not be posted

Posted by: Mark at December 23, 2006 09:18 PM

There is no doubt that people have symptoms which get labeled as "schizophrenia" according to the DSM-IV. And there is no doubt that, as you suggest, not all problems with these symptoms are "schizophrenia-the brain disease", but rather, some of those illnesses have been shown to actually have been low thyroid levels, high thyroid levels, dysfunction in response to thyroid levels, viral infections, bacterial infections, Wilson's, Cushing's, vitamin B deficiencies, etc. There is no doubt that other sources of the symptoms are still unexplained, and still are accurately labeled (according to convention), as schizophrenia.

There have been many research articles posted, as well as commentary here, that some forms of what is being labeled schizophrenia are indeed not a brain disease. Some forms really are from a psychological etiology, and not a disease progression per se. So yes - much information remains on this website about the symptomology of some problems labeled schizophrenia not being a brain disease according to how "disease" might be understood (just look at the article Is It Psychological Or Biological?), but there can be no rational or factual presentation of information to show that no form of symptomatic presentation is biological, or that often - it is the vast greyness in-between.

Some young children exhibiting a host of developmental problems that get labeled with things such as schizophrenia or autism, or PDD often exhibit a range of problems in the body, brain, eyes, motor coordination and endocrine system.

Mark - it is not unusual to not consider this form an actual disease of the brain - the medical profession is leaning towards considering this... whatever you may call it - a developmental disorder - it occurred while the baby was still developing and unfortunately affects multiple organs, of which, the brain is certainly an important member. So even this response of mine to you is definitely not "pro-psychiatry". It is "pro-medical".

Posted by: Jeanie at December 24, 2006 08:41 AM

At first reading the article I was interested. However, the Japan people are a sliver of the ethnica on Asia. Their on an island. I have read about a bizarre caveman like shamans who can trace their geneology back thousand or 2 years. I thought about someone living alone & lonely due to a disability & afraid to venture & be social. I was like this. I used to be shy due to my physical disability, afraid. Someone moved my cheeze when I was 10. or someone with back acne, burns bad arm or missing a leg. Our illness can be brought on by environment.


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