Sustained attention deficits measured by the Continuous Performance Test (CPT) have been proposed as an endophenotype of schizophrenia. However, little is known about whether sustained attention deficits in first-degree relatives of schizophrenic patients are associated with familial loading for schizophrenia. We examined 107 parents and 84 siblings of simplex schizophrenia families as well as 72 parents and 56 siblings of multiplex schizophrenia families, all nonpsychotic, using the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies and two sessions of the CPT (undegraded and degraded). The effect of perceptual load was assessed using the residual of the regression of the degraded score on the undegraded one. Statistical models that can adjust for familial correlations were used to compare the CPT performance of relatives between the two types of families. Siblings from multiplex families exhibited worse performance on the degraded CPT and less proficiency in processing the perceptual load than those from simplex families. No such difference was observed for the parents on either CPT version. We concluded that sustained attention along with perceptual load processing is more impaired in the siblings of schizophrenic patients with high familial loading and that this finding might be useful for future genetic dissection of schizophrenia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry