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.
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