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 Genetics

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor

Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on August 30, 2010 In anticipation of the 23rd European conference on psychosis and pharmacology, scientists discussed new models examining the combined role of genes and the environment.

According to the experts, the incidence of psychotic disorders varies greatly across places and demographic groups, as do symptoms, course, and treatment response across individuals.

Scientists note that high rates of schizophrenia in large cities, and among immigrants, cannabis users, and traumatized individuals reflect the influence of environmental exposures.

This, in combination with progress in the area of molecular genetics, has generated interest in more complicated models of schizophrenia that point to the role of gene-environment interactions.

Undoubtedly, schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders have a complex origin.

Research has attempted to determine the role of specific biological variables, such as genetic and biochemical factors and subtle changes in brain morphology.

Genetic vulnerability in schizophrenia is shared in part with bipolar disorder and recent molecular genetic findings also indicate an overlap with developmental disorders such as autism (Van Os & Kapur, 2009).

According to twin and family studies more than half of the vulnerability for schizophrenia is of genetic origin.

However, attempts to discover genes that relate directly to psychotic disorder have been frustrating and often disappointing, and despite enormous investments, the identification of actual molecular genetic variants underlying schizophrenia liability has proven extremely difficult.

This difficulty is mainly due to the phenomenon of gene-environment interaction, which is defined as genetic control of sensitivity to the environment.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/08/30/researchers-explore-gene-environment-trigger-for-psychosis/17419.html



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