Postural Sway Abnormalities in Schizotypal Personality Disorder



Motor abnormalities are among the most robust findings in schizophrenia, and increasing evidence suggests they are a core feature of the disorder. Postural sway during balance tasks is a highly sensitive probe of sensorimotor systems including the cerebellum, basal ganglia, and motor cortices. Postural sway deficits are present in schizophrenia as well as groups at high risk for psychosis, suggesting altered postural control may be sensitive to the pathophysiological processes associated with risk and expression of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. This study examined postural sway performance in schizotypal personality disorder (SPD). Individuals with SPD have attenuated psychotic symptoms and share genetic risk with schizophrenia but are usually free from antipsychotic medication and other illness confounds, making SPD useful for assessing candidate biomarkers. We measured postural sway using force plates in 27 individuals with SPD, 27 carefully matched controls, and 27 matched patients with schizophrenia. It was predicted that postural sway in the SPD group would fall intermediate to schizophrenia and controls. In all conditions (eyes open and closed, with feet together or apart), the SPD group swayed significantly more than the controls, as measured by path length and sway area. Moreover, the magnitude of the sway deficit was comparable in the SPD and schizophrenia groups. These findings suggest that postural sway measures may represent a sensorimotor biomarker of schizophrenia spectrum disorders.


If postural sway is a core feature then that might explain why yoga is beneficial for Sz patients. Yoga trains in a high degree of postural control.


ive noticed my balance is off sometimes


My balance has never been good.


I don’t know why you would assume that there is a causal link from postural sway to the severity of schizophrenia symptoms. Can you explain? It doesn’t seem logical to me.


I’ve been told many times I have an odd gait. I’m fine running. Its walking that I look a bit strange. i dunno what i look like. I have excellent balance.


Schizophrenia is characterised by ‘loose associations’. Postural sway may be due to the cerebellum being a bit loose (or not ‘tight’ enough control in the cerebellar neural circuits). I speculate that tightening up the cerebellar circuits through yoga might reverse a few Sz symptoms, or at least improve cognitive control.


That sounds logical, but still pretty far-fetched. Yoga helps with other mental illnesses not associated with postural sway. I think the simpler explanation is that it has a more general effect on mental well-being and stability that isn’t specifically related to schizophrenia.


I have no clue what postural sway is, but i did have mild motor abnormalities even as a kid. Subtle though. A bit of an odd gait when running. A bit more trouble learning how to swing or skip. For the rest i was sportive and all, just some “unsignificant” differences. My mum noticed them.