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Authors' reply:

Craddock, Nicholas John and Owen, Michael John 2010. Authors' reply:. British Journal of Psychiatry 196 (6) , pp. 495-496. 10.1192/bjp.196.6.495a

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Dr Crespi’s hypothesised model of autism and schizophrenia as diametric opposites is interesting, and it was only space limitations that prevented us discussing it in our article. We favour an ‘ overlapping’ model of the relationship between the two disorders as being both simpler and more consistent with the totality of current data. According to our view, the two disorders share overlapping pathogenic mechanisms arising from disturbances in neurodevelopment, with autism occupying a more severe position on a continuum of neurodevelopmental impairment.1 This is supported by a number of clinical similarities. Both disorders are more common in males and associated with cognitive impairment, and both are characterised by defects of social cognition. As Crespi mentions in his letter, clinicians used similar terminology in earlier times to refer to both diagnostic concepts (the term autistic was introduced originally to describe clinical features of adults with schizophrenia; for a time the term childhood schizophrenia was used to refer to children with autism). Within individuals, diagnoses of autism and schizophrenia have been reported to be positively associated in a large hospital case diagnosis study.2 Finally, we note that Swedish family register data show that autism diagnosis is substantially increased by a parental family history of schizophrenia and related diagnoses,3,4 consistent with some sharing of genetic susceptibility. These various observations seem to us to be more indicative of similarities than of opposites.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: The Royal College of Psychiatrists
ISSN: 0007-1250
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:52

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