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J Korean Soc Biol Psychiatry. 2002 Dec;9(2):140-151. Korean. Original Article.
Joo EJ , Jeong SH , Maeng SJ , Yoon SC , Kim JH , Kim CE , Shin Y , Kim YS .
Department of Psychiatry, Eulji Medical University, Eulji Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Chookryoung Evangelical Hospital, Namyangju, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Inha University, College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Kangnam General Hospital, Public Corporation, Seoul, Korea.

OBJECT AND METHOD: Minor physical anomalies(MPAs) are frequently seen in patients with schizophrenia. MPAs are considered to arise from the anomalous development of ectoderm-originated tissues in the developing fetus. Since the central nervous system originates from ectoderm, MPAs can be regarded as externally observable and objective indicators of the aberrant development which might have taken place in the central nervous system. To investigate whether MPAs are more frequent in schizophrenic patients, the frequencies of MPAs were compared between schizophrenic patients and normal controls. Total 245 schizophrenic patients diagnosed with DSM-IV(male : 158, female : 87), and 418 normal control subjects(male : 216, female : 202) were included in this study. The MPAs were measured using the modified Waldrop scale with fifteen items in six bodily regions; head, eye, ear, mouth, hand, and foot. RESULT: The total scores of Waldrop scale were 4.40+/-1.93(mean+/-standard deviation) in patients and 3.43+/- 1.68 in controls for females, and for males, 4.58+/-1.75 in patients and 4.28+/-1.59 in controls. For females, the excess of MPAs in schizophrenic patients was statistically significant(t-test : p<0.001). For males, schizophrenic patients also showed more MPAs than normal controls, but this tendency did not reach statistical significance (t-test : p=0.094). When the modified Waldrop total scores excluding head circumference were compared, the total scores in schizophrenic patients were significantly higher for both male and female subjects(t-test : male p<0.001, female p=0.001). The individual anomaly items included in Waldrop scale were also investigated. The items of epicanthus, hypertelorism, malformed ears, syndactylia were significantly more frequent in schizophrenic patients. In contrast, the items of adherent ear lobes, asymmetric ears, furrowed tongue, curved fifth finger, single palmar crease and big gap between toes did not show any differences in frequency between schizophrenic patients and normal controls. Since a lot of statistical analyses showed different results between male and female subjects, it seems to be necessary to consider gender as an important controlling variable for the analysis, however only the item of head circumference showed statistically significant gender-related difference according to log-linear analysis. CONCLUSION: With a relatively large sample size, the frequencies of MPAs enlisted in Waldrop scale were compared between schizophrenic patients and normal controls in this study. MPAs were more frequently seen in schizophrenic patients and, especially, several specific items in the Waldrop scale showed prominent excess in schizophrenic patients. Although definite conclusions cannot be drawn due to the inherent limitation of the study using Waldrop scale, these results seem to support the possibility that aberrant neurodevelopmental process might be involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia in some of the patients.

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