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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Jul 30;188(2):179-86. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2011.04.020. Epub 2011 May 19.

Association of maternal genital and reproductive infections with verbal memory and motor deficits in adult schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.


Maternal exposure to genital and reproductive infections has been associated with schizophrenia in previous studies. Impairments in several neuropsychological functions, including verbal memory, working memory, executive function, and fine-motor coordination occur prominently in patients with schizophrenia. The etiologies of these deficits, however, remain largely unknown. We aimed to assess whether prospectively documented maternal exposure to genital/reproductive (G/R) infections was related to these neuropsychological deficits in offspring with schizophrenia and other schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The cases were derived from a population-based birth cohort; all cohort members belonged to a prepaid health plan. Cases were assessed for verbal memory, working memory, executive function, and fine-motor coordination. Compared to unexposed cases, patients exposed to maternal genital/reproductive infection performed more poorly on verbal memory, fine-motor coordination, and working memory. Stratification by race revealed associations between maternal G/R infection and verbal memory and fine-motor coordination for case offspring of African-American mothers, but not for case offspring of White mothers. Significant infection-by-race interactions were also observed. Although independent replications are warranted, maternal G/R infections were associated with verbal memory and motor function deficits in African-American patients with schizophrenia.

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