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Associations between premorbid intellectual performance, early-life exposures and early-onset schizophrenia: Cohort study

  • David Gunnell (a1), Glynn Harrison (a2), Finn Rasmussen (a3), Dimitris Fouskakis (a2) and Per Tynelius (a3)...

Abstract

Background

Impaired intellectual performance is associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia.

Aims

To investigate whether this association is due to the influence of prenatal and early childhood exposures on both intellectual development and the risk of schizophrenia.

Method

Cohort of 197 613 Swedish male conscripts with linked birth, census and hospital admission data together with five measures of verbal and non-verbal intellectual performance recorded at conscription. Results 109 643 subjects had complete data; over a mean 5-year follow-up, 60 developed schizophrenia and 92 developed other non-affective psychoses. Poor scores for each of the five tests were associated with 3-to 14-fold increased risk of psychosis, particularly schizophrenia. Controlling for birth-related exposures, including birth weight, and parental education did not attenuate these associations.

Results

109 643 subjects had complete data; over amean 5-year follow-up,60 developed schizophrenia and 92 developed other non-affective psychoses. Poor scores for each of the five testswere associatedwith 3-to 14-foldincreasedrisk of psychosis, particularly schizophrenia. Controlling for birth-related exposures, including birthweight, and parental education didnot attenuate these associations.

Conclusions

Poor intellectual performance at 18 years of age is associated with early-onset psychotic disorder. Associations do not appear to be confounded by prenatal adversity or childhood circumstances, as indexed by parental education.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

David Gunnell, Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2PR, UK. Tel: 0117 928 7253; fax: 0117 928 7204; e-mail: D.J.Gunnell@bristol.ac.uk

Footnotes

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See editorial, pp. 276–277, this issue.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Associations between premorbid intellectual performance, early-life exposures and early-onset schizophrenia: Cohort study

  • David Gunnell (a1), Glynn Harrison (a2), Finn Rasmussen (a3), Dimitris Fouskakis (a2) and Per Tynelius (a3)...

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Associations between premorbid intellectual performance, early-life exposures and early-onset schizophrenia: Cohort study

  • David Gunnell (a1), Glynn Harrison (a2), Finn Rasmussen (a3), Dimitris Fouskakis (a2) and Per Tynelius (a3)...
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