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Cognitive deficits in children – candidate endophenotypes for schizophrenia?
There is an intrinsic relationship between cognitive impairments and vulnerability to schizophrenia. Objective: to evaluate if the cognitive deficits are present to the unaffected childrens of schizophrenic patients and this cognitive deficit could be a good predictor for later psychosis. Methods: the study was of observational prospective type, lasting for 3 years was made on 2 groups – 50 childrens (35 boys, 15 girls; age range = 6-16 years) who had at least one parent meeting Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV TR) criteria for schizophrenia and 10 normal controls, who had healthy parents. Results: There was an important cognitive deficit to the group of childrens with an increased risk for the development of schizophrenia, especially in executive functions. Childhood neurocognitive deficits were related to social skill deficits in adolescence and social isolation, suggesting a causal relationship with at least the interpersonal component of the vulnerability. Conclusions: Cognitive impairment of childrens with increase risk for schizophrenia may represent a valid endophenotyp, which in turn may be a very effective for the study of a disease of a complexity as well as schizophrenia. Also, early cognitive intervention might reduce multiple vulnerability components.
Key words: cognitive impairment, schizophrenia, endophenotip