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Schizophr Res. 1995 Nov;17(3):241-8.

No difference found between winter- and non-winter-born schizophrenic cases.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, USA.


The distinction between winter-born (WBS) and non-winter born (NWBS) schizophrenic cases has been proposed as a strategy to identify distinct etiologic subtypes within schizophrenia, the WBS subgroup being a predominantly environmental subtype. The goal of this paper is to empirically test the validity of this strategy by comparing WBS and NWBS groups on a broad array of clinical and biological variables. DSM-III-R schizophrenic, schizoaffective and schizophreniform subjects were comprehensively assessed using (i) the Comprehensive Assessment of Symptoms and History; (ii) a comprehensive neurological exam; (iii) a neuropsychological battery, including IQ and the Continuous Performance Test and (iv) an MRI scanning. The patients were divided into WBS and NWBS, using five alternative sets of definitions of winter birth. These comparisons yielded no differences between the groups on any of the 23 variables. The results suggest that the distinction between winter-born and non-winter-born cases has very limited power to identify distinct schizophrenic subtypes, and that better delineation of the correlates of environmental risk factors in schizophrenia will require a better identification of these factors.

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