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Biol Psychiatry. 2000 Sep 1;48(5):349-56.

Towards the prevention of schizophrenia.

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  • 1Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry at Brockton/West Roxbury VA Medical Center and Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

There is a growing emphasis on attempts to identify the early signs and symptoms of schizophrenia, largely because early detection and treatment of psychosis (i.e., secondary prevention) are associated with relatively favorable clinical outcomes. This raises the issue of whether prevention of psychosis itself is possible. The achievement of this goal will require the identification of a premorbid state that could serve as the foundation for treatment strategies aimed ultimately at the prevention of schizophrenia. Fortunately, evidence for such a state is emerging, in part because schizophrenia may result from a neurodevelopmental disorder that is associated with a variety of clinical, neurobiological, and neuropsychologic features occurring well before the onset of psychosis. These features may serve as both indicators of risk for subsequent deterioration and the foundation of treatment efforts. We reformulated Meehl's term schizotaxia to describe this liability and discuss here how its study could form the basis for future strategies of prevention. We also include a description of our initial attempts to devise treatment protocols for schizotaxia. It is concluded that schizotaxia is a feasible concept on which to base prevention efforts, and that treatment of adult schizotaxia may be among the next steps in the process.

PMID:
10978718
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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