Twenty Years of Schizophrenia Research in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966: A Systematic Review

Schizophr Res Treatment. 2015;2015:524875. doi: 10.1155/2015/524875. Epub 2015 May 18.

Abstract

Birth cohort designs are useful in studying adult disease trajectories and outcomes, such as schizophrenia. We review the schizophrenia research performed in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (NFBC 1966), which includes 10,934 individuals living in Finland at 16 years of age who have been monitored since each mother's mid-pregnancy. By the age of 44, 150 (1.4%) had developed schizophrenia. There are 77 original papers on schizophrenia published from the NFBC 1966. The early studies have found various risk factors for schizophrenia, especially related to pregnancy and perinatal phase. Psychiatric and somatic outcomes were heterogeneous, but relatively poor. Mortality in schizophrenia is high, especially due to suicides. Several early predictors of outcomes have also been found. Individuals with schizophrenia have alterations in brain morphometry and neurocognition, and our latest studies have found that the use of high lifetime doses of antipsychotics associated with these changes. The schizophrenia research in the NFBC 1966 has been especially active for 20 years, the prospective study design and long follow-up enabling several clinically and epidemiologically important findings. When compared to other birth cohorts, the research in the NFBC 1966 has offered also unique findings on course and outcome of schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Review