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

ignificant abuse, neglect or bullying during childhood. Evidence from epidemiological research pointing to a link between childhood trauma and psychotic disorders is remarkably consistent in showing strong effects on disease vulnerability.

Measuring schizophrenia vulnerability caused by gene-environment interaction

Given substantial gene-environment interaction underlying schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders, the most promising approach to elucidate the causes of schizophrenia is to focus on both genes and environments in the same research project. The study of gene-environment interaction is a multidisciplinary exercise involving epidemiology, psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, neuro-imaging, pharmacology, biostatistics, and genetics. However, it has proven extremely difficult to bring together these disciplines. Now for the first time in the European Union a rational strategy of focused research collaboration has been devised with a unique, large-scale project, which aims to unravel the causes of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders (EU-GEI project, see below).

The EU-GEI project

This multidisciplinary project, involving more than 7,500 patients and their families from 15 countries, is the largest effort to date to find gene-environment interactions underlying schizophrenia risk. It is designed to focus on the effects of gene-environment interactions on brain pathways and psychological vulnerability, and to elucidate how subtle, but measurable, behavioural expressions of vulnerability for psychotic disorder are mediated by cerebral and psychological pathways. Follow-up research in the project is expected to establish why, in some individuals, expression of vulnerability will never progress to overt illness, while in others, schizophrenia will manifest in clinical expression.

Psychopathological experiences show essential features such as variability over time and dynamic patterns of
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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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