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J Abnorm Psychol. 1999 May;108(2):359-62.

Eye-tracking dysfunction and birth-month weather in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Genetics Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts 02478, USA.


The prevalence of eye-tracking dysfunction (ETD) is significantly elevated in individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and in their nonschizophrenic relatives, suggesting that ETD marks a familial (most likely genetic) risk factor for schizophrenia. Birth in a season with intemperate weather is also a widely reported risk factor for schizophrenia and is particularly marked for the subgroup with no family history of the disorder. This study examined how these two risk factors covaried in 78 patients with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3rd ed., rev.; American Psychiatric Association, 1987) diagnosis of schizophrenia. Eye tracking and birth-month weather were independently assessed. As hypothesized, patients without ETD were significantly more likely to be born in months with intemperate weather (both hot and cold) than either patients with ETD or people in the general population. Etiologic factors associated with severe weather near birth may be important sources of nonfamilial schizophrenia.

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