Subtle Cognitive Dysfunction in Nonaffected Siblings of Individuals Affected by Nonpsychotic Disorders

Mark Weiser, Abraham Reichenberg, Efrat Kravitz, Gad Lubin, Moti Shmushkevich, David C. Glahn, Raz Gross, Jonathan Rabinowitz, Shlomo Noy, Michael Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Previous studies have reported that as a group, individuals affected by psychotic and nonpsychotic disorders perform below norms on cognitive tests. Other studies have indicated that unaffected siblings of individuals affected by psychotic disorders also perform below norms on the same tests. We investigated cognitive performance on a large, population-based sample of individuals, affected at the time of testing by nonpsychotic disorders, and their unaffected siblings. Methods: Subjects were taken from a population-based cohort of 523,375, 16- to 17-year-old male adolescents who had been assessed by the Israeli Draft Board. Cognitive test scores were examined in sib-pairs discordant for nonpsychotic (n = 19,489) and psychotic (n = 888) disorders and compared with 224,082 individuals from sibships with no evidence of mental illness. Results: There appears to be a gradient in cognitive performance (worst to best) from individuals currently affected by psychotic illnesses (Cohen's d = -.82), followed by individuals currently affected by nonpsychotic illness (Cohen's d = -.58), unaffected siblings of individuals affected by psychotic illness (Cohen's d = -.37), unaffected siblings of individuals affected by nonpsychotic illness (Cohen's d = -.27), and members of sibships with no evidence of mental illness. Unaffected siblings of both psychotic and nonpsychotic individuals from multiple affected sibships (more then one affected sibling) had worse cognitive test scores compared with unaffected siblings from simplex sibships (only one affected sibling). Conclusions: The results support, but do not prove, the notion that cognitive impairment in psychiatric disorders is familial and cuts across diagnostic entities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-608
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Volume63
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2008

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • nonpsychotic disorders
  • psychotic disorders
  • unaffected siblings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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