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Are neurological abnormalities in schizophrenic patients and their siblingsthe result of perinatal trauma?

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Objective: Previous findings of increased neurological abnormalities in schizophrenic patients and their non‐psychotic siblings raise the question of possible causes. The purpose of the present study was to examine the role of perinatal trauma in the aetiology of neurological abnormality.

Method: Obstetric information obtained from hospital records for 55 schizophrenic patients and 19 non‐psychotic siblings was scored blindly and separately from a neurological assessment of hard and soft signs.

Results: Obstetric complications (OCs) were significantly increased in patients but not in siblings compared to their respective neonatal control groups. Neurological abnormalities were related to OCs in siblings but not in patients. Neurological abnormalities in patients were negatively related to reduced neonatal head circumference.

Conclusion: Early somatic trauma may increase the probability of neurological abnormality in individuals who are genetically ‘at risk’.
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Keywords: neurology; pregnancy complications; schizophrenia

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Community Medicine and 2: Department of Psychiatry, Lund University, University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden.

Publication date: 2000-02-01

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