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Association between age at onset and clinical features of schizophrenia: The Northern Finland 1966 birth cohort study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2020

Suvi Luoma
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland
Helinä Hakko
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Oulu University Hospital, P.O. Box 26, 90029 Oulu University Hospital, Finland
Taru Ollinen
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Oulu University Hospital, P.O. Box 26, 90029 Oulu University Hospital, Finland
Marjo-Riitta Järvelin
Affiliation:
Department of Public Health Science and General Practice, University of Oulu, Finland Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of London, UK
Sari Lindeman
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland
Corresponding
E-mail address:
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Abstract

Purpose

To study the association between age at onset and the clinical picture of schizophrenia in an unselected young birth cohort.

Subjects and methods

The study sample consists of 98 (64 males and 34 females) individuals with DSM-III-R schizophrenia collected from the Northern Finland 1966 birth cohort. Firstly, subjects were divided into very early- and young-onset subgroups by using the median age at onset (22 years in males and 20 in females), as a cut-off point. Secondly, we used age at onset as a continuous variable. Clinical features of schizophrenia were assessed using the Operational Criteria Checklist for Psychotic Illnesses (OCCPI).

Results

Inappropriate affect, positive thought disorder and deterioration from premorbid level of function associate with very early-onset schizophrenia, while slowed activity and dysphoria relate to young-onset. These symptoms correlate significantly with the age at onset.

Discussion

Differences in the clinical picture associating to the age at onset of schizophrenia are seen early.

Conclusion

These findings indicate that certain symptoms of schizophrenia are dependent on the age at onset, and schizophrenia occurring initially in early life has some typical features. Using the age at onset as a continuous variable is independent of arbitrary cut-off points and produces more explicable results.

Type
Original article
Copyright
Copyright © Elsevier Masson SAS 2008

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Footnotes

Abbreviations: OCCPI, the Operational Criteria Checklist for Psychotic Illnesses; NFBC, the Northern Finland 1966 birth cohort; FHDR, Finnish Hospital Discharge Register; VEOS, very early-onset schizophrenia; YOS, young-onset schizophrenia.

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