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Psychiatry Res. 1984 Sep;13(1):77-93.

The Genain Quadruplets: psychological studies.


A series of behavioral studies is reported on the Genain Quadruplets. These monozygous women, all of whom have suffered or are suffering from schizophrenia, were studied previously at the National Institute of Mental Health (1955-1958) and were the subject of an extensive report by Rosenthal (1963). Although the Genains are genetically identical, the expression of the schizophrenic disorder is unequal among the quads, and this circumstance has led to speculation about the relative contributions of nature and nurture (or diathesis and stress in Rosenthal's terminology) in the development of this disease. Two goals were pursued in this investigation: one concerned a comparison of the status of the Genains in 1981 as compared with 1958; the other concerned whether data from the armamentarium of newer behavioral and neurobiological techniques invented and employed since 1958 might shed some light on the unequal expression of schizophrenia among the quadruplets. We conclude that the Genains are functioning about as well as they ever have in their adult lives, and scores on attentional tests show improvement as compared to 1958 measures. This is probably attributable to the medication (primarily neuroleptics) and other supportive treatments they have received over the years. With respect to the varying degrees of illness seen in the Genains, scrutiny of the biochemical, physiological, neuroradiological, immunogenetic, and behavioral test data leads to speculation that certain unique biochemical findings interacting with differing types and amounts of cerebral pathology constitute a major cause of the variable expression of the schizophrenic diathesis.

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