Taiwan schizophrenia linkage study: The field study



One possible reason of the inconsistent results of linkage analyses of schizophrenia, a complex disorder, was mainly due to the small sample size of studies. This Taiwan Schizophrenia Linkage Study (TSLS) was designed to collect a large family sample with at least two affected siblings of a single ethnicity. The 17.6 millions of Taiwanese Chinese, age over 15, was the sample population, and 78 psychiatric hospitals or health centers participated in this TSLS program. Before data collection started, every study subject signed the informed consent. The ascertainment protocol for data collection included blood sample, structured Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies (DIGS), Structured Interview for Schizotypy (SIS), scales for assessment of positive and negative symptoms (SAPS, SANS), and continuous performance test (CPT), Wisconsin card sort test (WCST) of neuropsychological functions. We have contacted 831 families for this study and 607 families, comprised 2,490 subjects, were successfully recruited. The recruitment rate was 38.4% from the estimated total of 1,582 families with at least two affected siblings. These collected family samples were fairly evenly distributed all over Taiwan. Those 2,490 study subjects (1,283 male, 1,117 female) comprised 1,568 siblings (mean age 35.7 years old) and 922 parents (mean age 63.6 years old). Of these 1,568 siblings, 1,258 (80.2%) were affected (male 795, female 463), and the mean age of onset was 22.6 years old. Among 922 parents, 65 were affected (male 14, female 51) and the age of onset was 33.1 years old. This TSLS demonstrated a successful establishment of an efficient research infrastructure to collect a large nation-wise sample of schizophrenic family for genetic linkage study. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.