Patients with deficit schizophrenia, a subtype of schizophrenia characterized by "negative" symptoms, such as blunted speech and expression, lack of emotional response, and apathy, are more likely to have been born in the summer months, according to an article in the October issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
According to the article, winter birth was reported to be a risk factor for schizophrenia in 1929. Clinical aspects of patients with schizophrenia born in the winter include paranoia and a more benign course of illness. Additionally, the clinical features associated with winter birth are different from patients with deficit schizophrenia, defined by the presence of negative symptoms, including inability to experience pleasure, lack of interest in socializing, speech deficits, blunted emotional response, poor eye contact, and more severe course of illness. Nondeficit schizophrenia is characterized by symptoms including hallucinations, incoherent thinking, and prominent delusions.
Erick Messias, M.D., M.P.H., of The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., and colleagues analyzed published and unpublished data from the northern hemisphere on studies of season of birth with information on schizophrenia and its subtype- deficit or nondeficit. A total of 1,594 patients were included in the nine studies examined.
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