People at greater genetic risk of schizophrenia could see a fall in IQ as they age, even if they do not develop the mental disorder, researchers say. The findings could lead to new research into how different genes for schizophrenia affect brain function over time.
Schizophrenia - a severe mental disorder characterised by delusions and by hallucinations - is in part caused by genetic factors.
The researchers used the latest genetic analysis techniques to reach their conclusion on how thinking skills change with age.
“Retaining our thinking skills as we grow older is important for living well and independently. If nature has loaded a person’s genes towards schizophrenia, then there is a slight but detectable worsening in cognitive functions between childhood and old age,” said Professor Ian Deary, Director of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology.