Are there specific risk factors for schizophrenia?

  • Preben Bo Mortensen


The purpose of this paper is to review the evidence as to whether we can identify specific risk factors for schizophrenia or if, alternatively, these risk factors are shared between schizophrenia and other disorders. The main focus will be a comparison between schizophrenia, on the hand, and bipolar affective disorder, on the other, since this has represented the accepted dichotomy of psychoses for more than a century. However, this dichotomy has also repeatedly been challenged, and therefore, it seems worthwhile to review similarities and discontinuities as far as risk factors are concerned. Recent genetic studies have rekindled this debate. For example, the paper by Cardno and colleagues [14] concluded that there is a degree of overlap in the genes contributing to schizophrenic, schizoaffective and manic syndromes, and they also concluded that their results support an overlap in environmental risk factors for the schizophrenic and manic syndromes. Their conclusion is, to some extent, supported by results from molecular genetic studies, although their conclusions were not left unchallenged [30].


Bipolar Disorder Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Obstetric Complication Specific Risk Factor Bipolar Affective Disorder 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Preben Bo Mortensen
    • 1
  1. 1.National Centre for Register-based ResearchUniversity of AarhusDenmark

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