Beyond symptom dimensions : schizophrenia risk factors for patient groups derived by latent class analysis
Introduction : Patients grouped by latent class analysis of symptoms show some consensus between studies, and may be less etiologically heterogeneous than current diagnoses. If so, the effect size of ‘neurodevelopmental’ risk factors may be greater than in equivalent DSMIV diagnostic groups. Method : Two hundred fifty six individuals with neurodevelopmental risk factors recorded in the National Child Development Study (1958) UK birth cohort were grouped by data-driven illness subtypes, derived previously in over 1000 individuals. The effect sizes of these risks were compared between data-derived and DSMIV schizophrenia (295.x) groups. Results : Compared to DSMIV schizophrenia, the data-driven subtype broadly characterized by the presence of psychotic symptoms in the absence of affective symptoms showed significantly greater effect sizes in eight out of thirteen continuously-rated risk factors: birth weight, cognition, childhood behavioural problems, and neurological softsigns including handedness. Conclusion : A data-driven subgroup of schizophrenia patients, characterized as lacking co-morbid depressive symptoms, is less heterogeneous with respect to neurodevelopmental etiology.