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Letters to the Editor
July 2002

Can Schizophrenia Be Diagnosed in the Initial Prodromal Phase?

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59(7):664-665. doi:

Both evidence and common sense suggest that the earlier the treatment of schizophrenia begins, optimally even before the onset of psychosis, the more rapid the immediate recovery and the better the overall outcome. Therefore, the question of whether schizophrenia may be diagnosed during the prodromal phase is of great theoretical and practical interest. Previous studies addressing this question have found that prodromal symptoms have, at best, a modest accuracy for predicting a diagnosis of schizophrenia.1,2 Therefore, the findings of Klosterkötter et al3 that prodromal symptoms, as gathered with the Bonn Scale for the Assessment of Basic Symptoms (BSABS), "performed well in the early detection of schizophrenia" and that a subset of symptoms has "particularly high prognostic accuracy"3(p158) convey important diagnostic and therapeutical implications.

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