Family-based clusters of cognitive test performance in familial schizophrenia

Hoti, Fabian; Tuulio-Henriksson, Annamari; Haukka, Jari; Partonen, Timo; Holmström, Lasse; Lönnqvist, Jouko
January 2004
BMC Psychiatry;2004, Vol. 4, p20
Academic Journal
Background: Cognitive traits derived from neuropsychological test data are considered to be potential endophenotypes of schizophrenia. Previously, these traits have been found to form a valid basis for clustering samples of schizophrenia patients into homogeneous subgroups. We set out to identify such clusters, but apart from previous studies, we included both schizophrenia patients and family members into the cluster analysis. The aim of the study was to detect family clusters with similar cognitive test performance. Methods: Test scores from 54 randomly selected families comprising at least two siblings with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and at least two unaffected family members were included in a complete-linkage cluster analysis with interactive data visualization. Results: A well-performing, an impaired, and an intermediate family cluster emerged from the analysis. While the neuropsychological test scores differed significantly between the clusters, only minor differences were observed in the clinical variables. Conclusions: The visually aided clustering algorithm was successful in identifying family clusters comprising both schizophrenia patients and their relatives. The present classification method may serve as a basis for selecting phenotypically more homogeneous groups of families in subsequent genetic analyses.


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