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Progressive deterioration of soft neurological signs in chronic schizophrenic patients

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Objective: Neurological signs are found to be increased in schizophrenia in cross‐sectional studies. Whether they progress with time is an important issue in addressing the course of the illness.

Method: The current study investigated different groups of neurological signs in 43 stable chronic schizophrenic patients over a 3‐year period using an operationalized instrument.

Results: While symptoms and medication have remained largely unchanged in the 3‐year period, significant increase in soft neurological signs (SNS) (‘motor coordination’, ‘sensory integration’ and ‘disinhibition’) has been observed. This contrasted with the stability of ‘pyramidal’, ‘extrapyramidal’, ‘dyskinesia’ and ‘catatonia’ signs. The increase in SNS appears not to be related to age, illness duration, symptoms or medication.

Conclusion: This finding suggests that SNS represent a marker sensitive to a possible late deterioration process in the course of a schizophrenic illness.
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Keywords: longitudinal studies; neurological manifestations; schizophrenia

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry, University of Hong Kong, 2: Lai Chi Kok Hospital, Hong Kong

Publication date: 01 November 2000

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