Fluctuating asymmetry in patients with schizophrenia is related to hallucinations and thought disorganisation


Fluctuating asymmetry represents the degree to which the right and left side of the body are asymmetrical, and is a sign of developmental instability. Higher levels of fluctuating asymmetry have been observed in individuals within the schizophrenia spectrum. We aimed to explore the associations of fluctuating asymmetry with psychotic and affective symptoms in schizophrenia patients, as well as with propensity to these symptoms in non-clinical individuals. A measure of morphological fluctuating asymmetry was calculated for 39 patients with schizophrenia and 60 healthy individuals, and a range of clinical and subclinical psychiatric symptoms was assessed. Regression analyses of the fluctuating asymmetry measure were conducted within each group. In the patient cohort, fluctuating asymmetry was significantly associated with the hallucination and thought disorganisation scores. T-test comparisons revealed that the patients presenting either hallucinations or thought disorganisation were significantly more asymmetrical than were the healthy individuals, while the patients without these key symptoms were equivalent to the healthy individuals. A positive association with the anxiety score emerged in a subsample of 36 healthy participants who were rated on affective symptoms. These findings suggest that fluctuating asymmetry may be an indicator of clinical hallucinations and thought disorganisation rather than an indicator of schizophrenia disease.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.112816
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
College of Health & Life Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anxiety,Developmental instability,Fluctuating asymmetry,Positive symptoms,Schizophrenia,Psychiatry and Mental health,Biological Psychiatry
Publication ISSN: 0165-1781
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
https://www.sci ... 6304?via%3Dihub (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2020-03-01
Published Online Date: 2020-01-25
Accepted Date: 2020-01-25
Authors: Stephan-Otto, Christian
Lombardini, Federica
Núñez, Christian
Senior, Carl (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-2155-4139)
Ochoa, Susana
Usall, Judith
Brébion, Gildas

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