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Neurological Soft Signs Of Schizophrenia Are Highly Heritable

AsianScientist (Oct. 6, 2015) - When it comes to making a diagnosis of schizophrenia neurological soft signs (NSS) such as rigidity, gait imbalance and tremors are thought to be associated with the disease but not used due to a lack of specificity and validation. However, researchers from the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have now found that NSS is indeed robustly inheritable and significantly correlated with schizophrenia. The results, published in Psychological Medicine, suggest that NSS could be a promising biomarker for schizophrenia. Dr. Raymond Chan’s team from the Institute of Psychology of Chinese Academy of Sciences and his international collaborators conducted a study to examine the heritability and familiality of NSS in the Han Chinese population. They adopted a healthy twin design and combined this method with clinical patients and their non-psychotic first-degree relatives. Using the abridged version of the Cambridge Neurological Inventory, 267 pairs of monozygotic twins, 124 pairs of dizygotic twins, and 75 pairs of patients with schizophrenia and their first-degree relatives were examined for their NSS performances. The classical method and structure equation model analysis were then used to examine the heritability and familiality of NSS in their participants. The results showed that NSS were robustly heritable in the healthy twins sample, especially for the items relating to the motor coordination and sensory integration (with heritability of 0.5-0.6). Their findings also showed that patients with schizophrenia correlated significantly with their first-degree relatives on NSS. Read more from Asian Scientist Magazine at: http://www.asianscientist.com/2015/10/health/cas-neurological-soft-signs-schizophrenia/

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