Louis Kraus

Childhood-onset schizophrenia remains a mystery

So rare is the child form of schizophrenia, it has taken researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health 18 years to diagnosis and collect data on 110 children. "We are trying to understand schizophrenia in a comprehensive way," says Dr. Nitin Gogtay, a researcher involved with the project in Bethesda, Md. "We see the illness in a very pure form. At that age, there are no confounding factors, like alcohol or drug abuse. We feel a lot of answers will come out of this study." The study, the largest of its kind worldwide, has already yielded clues about the disease -- the most severe mental illness. Although schizophrenia afflicts about 1% of adults, it occurs in...