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Developmental gene-environment interactions: A model for psychosis
Date:8/29/2010

2009; Dominguez et al., 2009). According to the model of psychosis proneness persistence impairment, genetic background factors impact on a broadly distributed and transitory population expression of psychosis during development. Hence, poor prognosis, in terms of persistence and clinical need, can be predicted by environmental exposure interacting with genetic risk.

Environmental risk factors

According to findings from epidemiological research, rates of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders are substantially influenced by a spectrum of environmental risk factors with significant impact on children and adolescents growing up in European societies.

  • Urbanicity
    Growing up in an urban area has been shown to be associated with an increased risk of developing psychotic disorder in later life (Spauwen et al., 2004). For children growing up in big cities a more than twofold risk compared to children in rural environments has been shown, independent of other risk factors. According to latest research findings up to 25% of all schizophrenia cases can be attributed to this effect.

  • Migration
    Migration presents an increasing challenge to European countries. In immigrant populations the risk of developing psychotic disorders is much higher compared to the risk in both the host country and the country of origin. These findings point to a significant impact associated with the often problematic social interaction between migrants and majority populations.

  • Cannabis use
    Apart from alcohol, cannabis is the most widely used drug in Europe. Although its effects were considered to be harmless compared to other drugs until recently, many studies have shown that cannabis use, in particular heavy use during adolescence, increases the risk of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

  • Childhood victimisation
    In European countries at least 15% of populations are the victims of s
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Contact: Sonja Mak
s.mak@update.europe.at
431-405-5734
European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Source:Eurekalert

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