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Psychiatry Res. 1994 Jul;53(1):1-12.

Performance of nonpsychotic relatives of schizophrenic patients on cognitive tests.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY.


We tested 54 nonpsychotic first degree relatives of 23 schizophrenic probands and 18 control subjects matched for age and education on several neuropsychological tests. The tests were selected to assess overall intellectual ability or because previous work indicated that they are particularly sensitive measures of cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenic patients. The relatives of schizophrenic patients performed significantly worse than the control subjects on tests of verbal fluency and on Trailmaking, part B. Each of these tests contributed unique variance to the discrimination between groups. The groups did not differ significantly on the number of perseverative errors on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised block design or vocabulary, or Trailmaking, part A. Eight relatives who met DSM-III-R criteria for schizotypal personality disorder were more impaired than the remaining 46 relatives on letter fluency, but otherwise their performance was similar to that of nonschizotypal relatives. These data suggest that close relatives of schizophrenic patients may have subtle neuropsychological impairments that are not necessarily associated with clinical symptoms of schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

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