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The Relations Among Putative Biorisk Markers in Schizotypal Adolescents: Minor Physical Anomalies, Movement Abnormalities, and Salivary Cortisol

Published:December 27, 2006DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.08.043

      Background

      Evidence suggests that prenatal insult may play a role in the etiology of psychotic disorders. Minor physical anomalies (MPA) are an indicator of abnormal fetal development and are elevated in individuals at genetic and behavioral risk for psychosis. Yet, there has been little empirical research on the relationships between MPAs and other neurobiological risk indicators. We hypothesized that the frequency of MPAs (an external marker of prenatal central nervous system [CNS] disruption) would be associated with two other biomarkers suggestive of disruptions in fetal neurodevelopment: movement abnormalities (an indicator of striatal abnormalities) and heightened cortisol secretion (an indicator of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal [HPA]/hippocampal function).

      Methods

      Participants with schizotypal personality disorder (SPD; n = 39) and both normal (n = 47) and other personality disorders (n = 28) control subjects were administered structured diagnostic interviews and assessed for MPAs, movement abnormalities, and salivary cortisol.

      Results

      Schizotypal personality disorder participants showed significantly greater MPAs and movement abnormalities and higher cortisol than both the normal and other personality disorders groups. Hierarchal linear regression analyses revealed that higher rates of MPAs were linked with greater movement abnormalities and salivary cortisol.

      Conclusions

      The findings suggest that MPAs serve as a marker of neurodevelopmental abnormalities that affect striatal and hippocampal regions.

      Key Words

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