Childhood-onset schizophrenia: an NIMH study in progress

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Adolescent; Brain; Brain Mapping; Child; Clozapine; Diagnostic Imaging; Double-Blind Method; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Haloperidol; Humans; Male; National Institute of Mental Health (U.S.); Neuropsychological Tests; Pursuit, Smooth; Reaction Time; Schizophrenia, Childhood; United States




An ongoing study of the phenomenology, genetics, neuropsychology, physiology (eye tracking, autonomic responsivity), neuroimaging, biochemistry, and pharmacology of childhood-onset schizophrenia is described, and pilot data are presented for the first 22 subjects. Differentiation from autism "spectrum" disorders and other poorly defined, severe neurodevelopmental disorders is needed. Eye tracking and autonomic results are similar to patterns seen in later-onset schizophrenia and possibly more striking. Magnetic resonance imaging showed larger left frontal ventricular horn area for the schizophrenia subjects, larger left caudate, and lack of normal caudate asymmetry. Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography during an auditory continuous performance task revealed decreased right parietal/occipital glucose metabolic rate in the schizophrenia subjects, which may be secondary to poor attentional performance, and increased glucose metabolic rate in three left frontal regions, a left parietal region, and the right putamen. Clozapine has been effective and well tolerated in an open trial with 12 adolescents who responded poorly to typical neuroleptics; 16 subjects have been enrolled in a double-blind comparison of haloperidol and clozapine. Longitudinal study of this narrowly defined and possibly more homogeneous group of very early-onset schizophrenia subjects will be relevant to current neurodevelopmental theories addressing the role of puberty, progression of pathology, and continuity or discontinuity with later-onset schizophrenia.

DOI of Published Version



Schizophr Bull. 1994;20(4):697-712. doi: 10.1093/schbul/20.4.697

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Schizophrenia bulletin

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID