Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Minor physical anomalies and schizophrenia

Minor physical anomalies are a range of subtle alterations of the head, hands, hair and feet which serve as indicators of altered morphogenesis during the first or early second trimester and act as timed, biological markers of developmental disturbance. An increased prevalence of these anomalies has been extensively documented in people with schizophrenia compared to healthy controls but the precise pattern of physical anomalies and their specificity for schizophrenia remains unclear. A study of 400 people in the UK compared those with first-episode psychosis to an unaffected control group. People with psychosis had more of the following anomalies: facial assymetry, assymetry of the orbital landmarks, a 'V-shaped' palate, reduced palatal ridges and ear abnormalities. There was no difference between those with affective psychoses and those with schizophrenia. The pattern of anomalies were "suggestive of an insult occuring during organogenesis in the first trimester of pregnancy".

Lloyd, T. ... [et al] - Minor physical anomalies in patients with first-episode psychosis: their frequency and diagnostic specificity Psychological Medicine January 2008, 38(1), 71-77

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