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Biol Psychiatry. 2002 Feb 15;51(4):312-8.

Psychiatric disorders and behavioral problems in children with velocardiofacial syndrome: usefulness as phenotypic indicators of schizophrenia risk.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, 401 Quarry Road, Stanford, CA 94305-5719, USA.



Velocardiofacial syndrome (VCFS), a genetic deletion condition with numerous cognitive sequelae, is associated with a high rate of psychiatric disorders in childhood. More recently, VCFS has been identified as a high-risk factor for developing adult onset schizophrenia. However, it has never been demonstrated that the childhood psychiatric disorders found in children with VCFS differ from those found in children with a similar degree of cognitive impairment. Identification of a specific behavioral (psychiatric) phenotype in childhood VCFS offers the potential for elucidating the symptomatic precursors of adult onset schizophrenia.


Twenty-eight children with VCFS and 29 age- and cognitively matched control subjects received a standardized assessment of childhood psychiatric disorders and behaviors measured by the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Findings from the two groups were compared.


The rates and types of psychiatric disorder and behavior problems in VCFS and cognitively matched control subjects were very high, but showed no significant differences.


Psychopathology in children with VCFS may not differ from that found in cognitively matched control subjects. Another explanation is that subtle phenotypic differences in behavior found in VCFS can not be observed using standard symptom inventories. The high rate of psychopathology in children with VCFS is not a useful phenotypic indicator of high risk for adult onset schizophrenia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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