Preliminary evidence for an association between minor physical anomalies and second trimester neurodevelopment in schizophrenia

Michael Foster Green, H. Stefan Bracha, Paul Satz, Cynthia D. Christenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Two types of markers, dermatoglyphics and minor physical anomalies, have been used as indicators of problems with fetal neurodevelopment in schizophrenia. The degree to which these markers overlap is not known. While it is agreed that abnormal dermatoglyphics reflect early second trimester maldevelopment, the timing of the development of minor physical anomalies has not been determined. Forty-six schizophrenic patients received assessments for minor physical anomalies, dermatoglyphics (right-left ridge count asymmetry and total finger ridge count), and information processing. Higher scores for minor physical anomalies were associated with greater dermatoglyphic asymmetry. Patients who had both types of indicators (high minor physical anomalies and dermatoglyphic asymmetry) did not differ on information-processing measures from patients who had neither. On the basis of the timing of dermatoglyphic development (weeks 14-22 of gestation), the association between minor physical anomalies and dermatoglyphic asymmetry suggests that the relatively high rate of minor physical anomalies observed in schizophrenia can be considered to reflect at least second trimester maldevelopment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1994
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments. The authors thank Donna Gaier, B.A., and Sharon Mitchell, M.A., for their help in data collection. The scoring of the dermatoglyphics was conducted by Angela Downs, B.A. Statistical analyses were conducted by Sun Hwang, M.S., M.P.H., of the Methodology and Statistical Support Unit of the UCLA Clinical Research Center for the Study of Schizophrenia. Funding for this project came from National Institute of Mental Health grants to Dr. Green (MH-43292) and to Dr. Bracha (MH-43537). The patients were obtained through the excellent cooperation of the staff and administration of Camarillo State Hospital.


  • Dermatoglyphics
  • information processing
  • prenatal development


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