Genetic risk of neuropsychological impairment in schizophrenia: a study of monozygotic twins discordant and concordant for the disorder
We used a paradigm involving monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs discordant for schizophrenia (n=20) and concordant for schizophrenia (n=8), as well as normal MZ twin pairs (n=7) in order to study cognitive measures of genetic risk in schizophrenia. A comparison between the unaffected twins from the discordant sample and the normal twins indicated subtle attenuations in some aspects of memory and executive functioning in the unaffected group and thus provided evidence for cognitive markers of a genetic component in schizophrenia. A comparison of the affected twins from the discordant pairs and the concordant twins yielded virtually no differences, suggesting that a distinction between familial and sporadic cases is not valid in this sample. Large differences between unaffected and affected members of discordant pairs on a wide variety of variables, including IQ, attention, memory, and executive function, highlighted the magnitude of disease-specific factors.