Attentional impairment and minor physical anomalies in early onset schizophrenia

Deyashini Lahiri, Amool Ranjan Singh Singh


Background : Minor physical anomalies (MPAs) are established markers of abnormal
neurodevelopment that also has been postulated to lead to attentional impairments. Both these
variables are studied and found in schizophrenia. We aimed to compare the neuropsychological
domain of attention in patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls and correlated the findings
with number of MPAs. Methods : Thirty patients with early onset schizophrenia (in remission)
and thirty healthy controls were recruited. While attention was assessed using the Digit span, the
Digit vigilance and the Trail Making Tests, MPAs were comprehensively assessed using the 55
item Extended Waldrop Scale. Study variables were analysed using non-parametric measures.
Results : Schizophrenia patients were found to have significantly higher cranio facial and
total MPAs. Attentional impairment in patients was significantly impaired as compared to
controls. There was no significant correlation between MPA scores and attentional measures.
Conclusions : This study supports the finding that total and specific cranio-facial MPA scores
and, impaired attention are indeed illness markers in schizophrenia patients. No distinguishable
association, however, was found between MPAs and attentional measures. We suggest heterogeneity
in brain morphogenesis, disease and treatment influences as possible hindrances.

Keywords : Schizophrenia; Neurodevelopment; Neuropsychology; Minor physical anomalies;

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ISSN 0974-1313 (Print)

ISSN 0976-0334 (Online)

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