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Familial sinistrality and handedness in patients with first episode schizophrenia: The EUFEST study

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The population with schizophrenia is characterised by a leftward shift in handedness—sinistrality. However, findings are inconsistent in chronic patients, and familial sinistrality (FS), defined as the presence of left-handed close relatives, might contribute to the discrepancies. Therefore the aim of this study was to investigate the strength of manual lateralisation in patients with first episode schizophrenia, taking into account familial sinistrality. The Edinburgh Inventory (EI) allowed us to categorise 179 patients from the EUFEST study and 189 controls presenting “strong handedness” (SH: EI absolute value between ∣81∣ and ∣100∣) or “weak-handedness” (WH: EI value between −80 and +80). The nominal logistic regression did not show an FS effect, but a nearly significant interaction between illness and FS (p =.07). There were fewer participants without FS presenting SH among patients (99/151: 65.6%) than among controls (134/164: 81.7%, p =.001). In contrast, the number of participants with FS presenting SH was similar between controls (68%) and patients (75%, p =.57). The presence of left-handed relatives (FS + ) tended to reduce manual lateralisation, but only in controls. This supports the notion that reduced manual lateralisation in schizophrenia is related to the illness rather than to familial left-handedness.
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Keywords: First psychotic episode; Handedness; Laterality; Schizophrenia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry, Centre Esquirol, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Caen, France 2: UMR 6232, CNRS, CEA, Universités Caen Paris René Descartes, France 3: Department of Psychiatry, Al. Obregia Psychiatric Hospital, Bucharest, Romania 4: Department of Adult Psychiatry, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland 5: Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel 6: Department of Psychiatry, University of Naples SUN, Naples, Italy 7: Department and Clinic of Psychiatry, Charles University Medical School and Faculty Hospital, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic 8: Department and Clinic of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Neurology and Psychiatry St Naum, Sofıa, Bulgaria 9: Department of Biological Psychiatry, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria 10: Department of Epidemiology, University Medical Centre Groningen, The Netherlands 11: University Psychiatric Centre, Campus St. Jozef Kortenberg, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium 12: Department of Psychiatry, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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