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December 1979

Peripheral Vestibular Pathology in Schizophrenic Infants

Author Affiliations

32 Love Walk London, England SE5 8AD

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(13):1462-1463. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780130080011

To the Editor.—  Discussing their finding of vestibular hyporeactivity in infants at risk for schizophrenia (Archives 35:963-971, 1978), Drs Fish and Dixon state that the transitory nature of the decreased caloric nystagmus rules out the possibility of an organic lesion of the vestibular system. If this is intended to mean that there cannot be any peripheral vestibular dysfunction, then this is surely an incorrect inference. For a start, there exist temporary conditions of impaired end-organ sensitivity due to fluctuating organic disorders, like the deafness of acute otitis media or early Meniere's disease. Second, the possibility of an irritative as opposed to a paretic vestibular disorder has not been considered. In actual fact, studies on the vestibular system in autistic children strongly implicate a peripheral dysfunction, and the autonomic instability in "schizophrenic" infants can be attributed to aural pathology.It is commonly assumed that labyrinthine vertigo is due to destruction of

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