A normative chart for cognitive development in a genetically selected population

A.M. Fiksinski*, C.E. Bearden, A.S. Bassett, R.S. Kahn, J.R. Zinkstok, S.R. Hooper, W. Tempelaar, J.A.S. Vorstman, E.J. Breetvelt, 22q11DS International Consortium on Brain and Behavior

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Certain pathogenic genetic variants impact neurodevelopment and cause deviations from typical cognitive trajectories. Understanding variant-specific cognitive trajectories is clinically important for informed monitoring and identifying patients at risk for comorbid conditions. Here, we demonstrate a variant-specific normative chart for cognitive development for individuals with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS). We used IQ data from 1365 individuals with 22q11DS to construct variant-specific normative charts for cognitive development (Full Scale, Verbal, and Performance IQ). This allowed us to calculate Z-scores for each IQ datapoint. Then, we calculated the change between first and last available IQ assessments (delta Z-IQ-scores) for each individual with longitudinal IQ data (n = 708). We subsequently investigated whether using the variant-specific IQ-Z-scores would decrease required sample size to detect an effect with schizophrenia risk, as compared to standard IQ-scores. The mean Z-IQ-scores for FSIQ, VIQ, and PIQ were close to 0, indicating that participants had IQ-scores as predicted by the normative chart. The mean delta-Z-IQ-scores were equally close to 0, demonstrating a good fit of the normative chart and indicating that, as a group, individuals with 22q11DS show a decline in IQ-scores as they grow into adulthood. Using variant-specific IQ-Z-scores resulted in 30% decrease of required sample size, as compared to the standard IQ-based approach, to detect the association between IQ-decline and schizophrenia (p < 0.01). Our findings suggest that using variant-specific normative IQ data significantly reduces required sample size in a research context, and may facilitate a more clinically informative interpretation of IQ data. This approach allows identification of individuals that deviate from their expected, variant-specific, trajectory. This group may be at increased risk for comorbid conditions, such as schizophrenia in the case of 22q11DS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1379-1386
Number of pages8
Issue number7
Early online date29 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022



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