Schizophrenia genes increase chance of IQ loss

February 21, 2013, University of Edinburgh

People who are at greater genetic risk of schizophrenia are more likely to see a fall in IQ as they age, even if they do not develop the condition.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh say the findings could lead to new research into how different genes for schizophrenia affect over time. They also show that genes associated with schizophrenia influence people in other important ways besides causing the illness itself.

The researchers used the latest techniques to reach their conclusion on how thinking skills change with age.

They compared the IQ scores of more than 1,000 people from Edinburgh who were tested for general cognitive functions in 1947, when the subjects were aged 11, and again when they were around 70 years old.

The researchers were able to examine people's genes and calculate each subject's genetic likelihood of developing schizophrenia, even though none of the group had ever developed the illness.

They then compared the of people with a high and low risk of developing schizophrenia. They found that there was no difference at age 11, but people with a greater of schizophrenia had slightly lower IQs at age 70.

Those people who had more genes linked to schizophrenia also had a greater estimated fall in IQ over their lifetime than those at lower risk.

Ian Deary, Director of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, who led the research team, said: "Retaining our thinking skills as we grow older is important for living well and independently. If nature has loaded a person's genes towards schizophrenia, then there is a slight but detectable worsening in cognitive functions between childhood and old age."

Andrew McIntosh, of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Clinical , said: "With further research into how these genes affect the brain, it could become possible to understand how genes linked to schizophrenia affect people's cognitive functions as they age."

Explore further: Study finds bidirectional relationship between schizophrenia and epilepsy

More information: The study is published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Related Stories

Study finds bidirectional relationship between schizophrenia and epilepsy

September 19, 2011
Researchers from Taiwan have confirmed a bidirectional relation between schizophrenia and epilepsy. The study published today in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), reports that patients ...

Immune dysfunction possibly linked to schizophrenia

October 19, 2012
Schizophrenia is a complex illness; among other characteristics, sufferers often find it difficult to tell the difference between what is real and not real and have trouble thinking clearly. Its symptoms could develop over ...

Recommended for you

Hospice patients define the changing nature of wisdom in their final days

January 24, 2018
Wisdom is typically considered to be the fruit of a long life, the accumulation of experiences lived and lessons learned. In recent years, scientists have created a consensus definition of wisdom as a complex trait with several ...

Short-course treatment for combat-related PTSD offers expedited path to recovery

January 23, 2018
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be debilitating and standard treatment can take months, often leaving those affected unable to work or care for their families. But, a new study demonstrated that many ...

Social and emotional skills linked to better student learning

January 23, 2018
Students with well-developed and adaptive social and emotional behaviours are most likely to excel in school, according to UNSW researchers in educational psychology.

Priming can negate stressful aspects of negative sporting environments, study finds

January 23, 2018
The scene is ubiquitous in sports: A coach yells at players, creating an environment where winning is the sole focus and mistakes are punished. New research from the University of Kansas shows that when participants find ...

Study of learning and memory problems in OCD helps young people unlock potential at school

January 22, 2018
Adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have widespread learning and memory problems, according to research published today. The findings have already been used to assist adolescents with OCD obtain the help ...

People with prosthetic arms less affected by common illusion

January 22, 2018
People with prosthetic arms or hands do not experience the "size-weight illusion" as strongly as other people, new research shows.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.