The LONG-HELD notion that childhoodonset schizophrenia before the age of 12 years is a different disorder than adult-onset schizophrenia continues to crumble in the face of new data. The articles by Zahn et al1 and Rapoport et al2 not only provide important scientific data to that effect but also represent an incremental step in establishing that the psychotic clinical brain disorder that we call "schizophrenia" is one illness that may manifest throughout the life cycle. Accumulating evidence related to phenomenological, neurobiological, and pharmacological characteristics and course and outcome strongly indicate that the onset of schizophrenia may occur at age 10, 20, 30, or even 60 or 70 years.3
See also pages 897 and 904
As always, new knowledge enlightens but also provokes additional questions. The continuity of neurophysiological and neuroanatomical findings in childhood- and adult-onset schizophrenia underscores the structural and functional primary brain "lesion" in schizophrenia. For
Nasrallah HA, Tolbert HA. Neurobiology and Neuroplasticity in Schizophrenia: Continuity Across the Life Cycle. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1997;54(10):913–914. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1997.01830220031005
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.