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Adult psychosis, common childhood infections and neurological soft signs in a national birth cohort

  • Stuart J. Leask (a1), D. John Done (a2) and Timothy J. Crow (a3)
Abstract
Background

Neurological soft signs preceding adult-onset schizophrenia suggest a neurodevelopmental origin and could reflect physical illness in childhood.

Aims

To investigate possible associations of adult-onset psychosis with neurological soft signs and common infectious illnesses in childhood.

Method

Using data from the UK National Child Development Study, a longitudinal general population sample, odds ratios were calculated for clinical diagnoses of common childhood viral illnesses and later adult psychotic illness, childhood epilepsy and a range of neurological soft signs.

Results

The number of illnesses per individual did not relate either to the number of soft signs, or to any particular adult outcome. Schizophrenia, affective psychosis and epilepsy were not associated with common childhood illness but were associated with neurological soft signs and an increased, but small, frequency of previous meningitis and tuberculosis.

Conclusions

Overall the data support the notion of neurological soft signs as markers of disordered neurodevelopment in schizophrenia (but the early neurological abnormalities are not caused by infectious illness) and an association between meningitis or tuberculosis in childhood and a small proportion of cases of epilepsy, affective psychosis and schizophrenia.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr S. J. Leask, University of Nottingham Department of Psychiatry, Duncan Macmillan House, Porchester Road, Nottingham NG3 6AA, UK. Tel: +44(0)115 969 1300, extension 40784; fax: +44 (0) 115 955 5352; e-mail: stuart.leask@nottingham.ac.uk
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Adult psychosis, common childhood infections and neurological soft signs in a national birth cohort

  • Stuart J. Leask (a1), D. John Done (a2) and Timothy J. Crow (a3)
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