Minor physical anomalies in familial and sporadic schizophrenia: The Maudsley family study

T. D. Griffiths, T. Sigmundsson, N. Takei, S. Frangou, P. B. Birkett, T. Sharma, A. M. Reveley, R. M. Murray

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49 Scopus citations


Objectives - (1) To test the hypothesis that minor physical anomalies are increased in patients with schizophrenia and (2) to investigate differences in the prevalence of minor physical anomalies in patients with familial and sporadic schizophrenia and their first degree relatives. Methods - A weighted Waldrop assessment was carried out on 214 subjects in five groups: schizophrenic patients from multiply affected families; first degree relatives of these familial schizophrenic patients; sporadic schizophrenic patients; first degree relatives of these sporadic schizophrenic patients, and normal controls. Broad and narrow criteria for abnormality were defined based on the distribution of minor physical anomalies in the control group. Results - (1) The total schizophrenic group did not have a significant increase in minor physical anomalies using a narrow criterion of abnormality, but did when a broader criterion was used. (2) A significant increase in the proportion of subjects with an abnormally high number of minor physical abnormalities was shown in the group of sporadic schizophrenic patients (uncorrected p < 0.01). Separate analyses for males and females showed a significant increase in the male sporadic group (uncorrected p < 0.05), and a smaller non-significant increase in the female sporadic group. Neither the familial schizophrenic group nor either group of first degree relatives showed any significant increases in the proportion of patients with high abnormality scores. Conclusion - This work supports prenatal developmental abnormality as a mechanism for sporadic, but not familial, schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-60
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Family study
  • Genetics
  • Minor physical anomaly
  • Schizophrenia
  • Waldrop procedure


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