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Genetic and environmental risk factors and gene-environment interactions are linked to higher likelihood of developing schizophrenia in accordance with the neurodevelopmental model of disease; little is known about risk factors and early development in early-onset schizophrenia (EOS) and very early-onset schizophrenia (VEOS).
We present a case-control study of a sample of 21 patients with EOS/VEOS and a control group of 21 patients with migraine, recruited from the Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, Department of Neurologic and Psychiatric Science, University of Bari, Italy. The aim was to assess the statistical association between VEOS/EOS and family history for psychiatric disorders, obstetric complications and childhood developmental abnormalities using 2 × 2 tables and a Chi Squared or Fisher test.
The results show a statistical association between EOS/VEOS and schizophrenia and related disorders (P = 0.02) and personality disorders (P = 0.003) in relatives, and between EOS/VEOS and developmental abnormalities of early relational skills (P = 0.008) and learning (P = 0.04); there is not a statistically relevant difference between cases and controls (P > 0.05) for any obstetric complications (pre, peri and postpartum).
This study confirms the significant role of familial liability but not of obstetric complications in the pathogenesis of VEOS/EOS; the association between childhood developmental abnormalities and EOS/VEOS supports the neurodevelopmental model of disease.