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Schizophr Res. 2012 Mar;135(1-3):152-7. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2011.12.005. Epub 2012 Jan 12.

Olfaction, "olfiction," and the schizophrenia-spectrum: an updated meta-analysis on identification and acuity.

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Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 708080, United States.


Olfaction deficits in individuals with schizophrenia are well documented. A meta-analysis conducted nearly a dozen years ago on the topic revealed a deficit of a full standard deviation in magnitude compared to nonpatient controls. Recent efforts have been attempted to determine whether deficits in olfactory identification and acuity reflect a vulnerability marker of schizophrenia-spectrum pathology. To address this issue, the present study conducted a meta-analysis of 16 studies of individuals with schizotypy, defined in terms of a) "ultra-high risk" status, b) having an affected biological family member, or c) having extreme scores on a schizotypy questionnaire. We also conducted an updated meta-analysis of 40 studies of olfactory functioning in schizophrenia. Consistent with the prior meta-analysis, patients with schizophrenia showed impairments in olfaction identification on a full standard deviation in magnitude (d = -.99). Individuals with schizotypy showed much more subtle (d = -.24) differences in olfaction, though the effect sizes were higher for studies examining individuals at "ultra-high risk" (d = -.67) versus studies examining individuals with psychometrically-defined (d = -.14) schizotypy. Differences in olfactory acuity, relative to their respective control groups, were small for both the schizophrenia (d = -.45) and schizotypy (d = -.38) studies but were similar in magnitude. The present findings argue against the notion that deficits in olfaction identification are a vulnerability marker of schizophrenia. Suggestions for future research are recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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