OBJECTIVE: A number of reports have suggested that early brain trauma,
especially obstetric complications, may be associated with schizophrenia.
This observation seems at variance with the similar rates of schizophrenia
reported for advanced and developing countries when viewed against the high
rate of perinatal morbidity in developing countries. Using patients with
mania as comparison subjects, the authors investigated the association of
early brain trauma with schizophrenia in adult life among Nigerian
patients. METHOD: The manic (N = 12) and schizophrenic (N = 26) groups,
both diagnosed according to the Research Diagnostic Criteria, were compared
in respect to the prevalence of events commonly regarded as definite
obstetric complications and the prevalence of childhood brain injury for
which hospitalization was required. RESULTS: A history of early brain
trauma was associated with an adult diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenic patients with a history of early brain trauma were more
likely than those without early brain trauma to have shown poor scholastic
performance in childhood. They also showed mixed cerebral laterality in
adulthood. CONCLUSIONS: Early brain trauma may be a specific risk factor
for the later development of schizophrenia. Patients with such a history
may evidence other features of neurodevelopmental deviance.