National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care East of England, Cambridge, UK; Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. Electronic address: [Email]
We investigated relationships between early developmental milestones, schizophrenia incidence and variability in its age at onset. We hypothesized that the period of risk for schizophrenia would be longer for those with later development. The Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 was followed until 47 years of age, and those members diagnosed with schizophrenia or any other non-affective psychoses identified. Latent profile analysis was used to classify people into homogenous classes with respect to developmental milestones, and subsequently survival analysis explored relationship between classes and age of schizophrenia onset. Results suggest that 4-classes (early, regular, late, and extra late developers) can be identified, but due to few cases in one class (n = 93, <0.01% of 10,501), only 3 classes (early, regular, late) could be meaningfully compared. Schizophrenia incidence until 47 years of age differed systematically between classes: late developers had the highest cumulative incidence (2.39%); regular were intermediate (1.25%); and early developers had the lowest incidence (0.99%). However, age at onset and its variability was similar across classes, suggesting that our hypothesis of a wider 'window' for schizophrenia onset in late developers was not supported.