Bodily features

This category contains information about body structure changes in schizophrenia. These include changes in dermatoglyphics, minor physical anomalies, morphometrics, and telomere length. Click on the links or the tabs below to access the information, or browse via the drop-down menu to the left.

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What are dermatoglyphics? Dermatoglyphics, also referred to as epidermal ridges, are the distinct patterns and lines on the hands and fingers. These ridges appear on the hands between weeks 6 and 15 during foetal development, and remain largely unchanged after this period. Alterations in the patterns and counts of dermatoglyphics may be an indication of disruption to foetal development in the early- to mid-gestation period. A triradius occurs where three ridge systems meet at a point, and occurs four times on the palm, at the base of each of the four digits (a, b, c, and d). Dermatoglyphic indices include:…

Minor physical anomalies

What are minor physical anomalies? Minor physical anomalies (MPAs) are subtle anatomical deviations that have little functional or aesthetic impact. They may be traced to events occurring prenatally and may represent risk markers for underlying illness susceptibility. MPAs may be important risk indicators when an individual is already at high risk of developing psychosis, for example, having a first-degree relative with psychosis, and when multiple MPAs occur together in one individual. What is the evidence for minor physical anomalies? Moderate to high quality evidence finds a large increase in overall MPA scores in people with schizophrenia compared to controls. There…


What is morphometrics?  Morphometrics is the measurement of the variation in the structure or form of organisms. In the mid-1900s, William Herbert Sheldon introduced the notion that there were three components that determine the morphology of a human individual: mesomorphy (musculoskeletal robustness relative to height); endomorphy (relative fatness); and ectomorphy (relative erectness or slenderness). The study of body shapes and their prevalence in both physical and mental disorders may provide insight into the biology of and risk for schizophrenia. What is the evidence for morphometrics? High quality evidence shows people with schizophrenia are often slighter shorter in height than people…

Telomere length

What is telomere length? Telomeres are protective caps on the ends of chromosomes. They are linked to aging as they shorten with each cell division, and when they reach a critical length the cell stops dividing or dies. Chronic stress has been associated with reduced telomere length, resulting in the recognition of an association between adverse social and environmental influences and accelerated aging. Schizophrenia has also been associated with adverse environmental influences. What is the evidence for telomere length in people with schizophrenia? Moderate to high quality evidence finds a medium-sized reduction in telomere length in people with schizophrenia compared…

NeuRA Libraries

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