Toward defining schizophrenia as a more useful clinical concept

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2008 Aug;10(4):344-51. doi: 10.1007/s11920-008-0055-9.


Delineating schizophrenia remains elusive despite considerable interest and study for more than a century. During this time, a variety of terms and defining features have been ascribed to the construct. The predominant contemporary construct, for which substantial limitations persist, has changed little in the past 30 years. With the approaching arrival of the DSM-V, interest in the nosology of schizophrenia has rebounded. Recent publications have focused principally on the following: integrating dimensional approaches to diagnosis, subtypes of schizophrenia, endophenotypes, and identifying those at early risk as part of a staging process. Some have even suggested replacing the term. Although an etiopathic diagnosis remains out of reach, contemporary research is marching down several distinct paths toward defining schizophrenia as a construct of greater clinical utility.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Protein 7
  • Humans
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Schizophrenia / classification*
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenia / genetics
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Carrier Proteins
  • DISC1 protein, human
  • FABP7 protein, human
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Protein 7
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins