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

reactivity to the environment that need to be captured for a better understanding of their underlying mechanisms. Behavioural expression of vulnerability, occasioned by gene-environment interactions, is best captured as subtle alterations in mood, perception, volition and thought in response to minor stressors in the flow of daily life. Since to date no tools exist to adequately monitor these alterations, European enterprises and start-ups in the EU-GEI project will develop new technology allowing for adequate assessment.

Today a prototypic device (PSYMATE) has been designed which can be carried during the day for easy data input concerning mental state, context and activities at random moments in the stream of consciousness. This new method will enable clinicians to capture the 'film' rather than a 'snapshot' of daily life reality of patients, fuelling new research into the gene environment experience interplay underlying psychopathology and its treatment (Myin-Germeys et al., 2009).

Clinical implications

Given the evidence for detrimental effects of big cities on mental health and a wide range of somatic disorders, the impact of the increasing urbanisation and other environmental risk factors in European countries (e.g. migration) should be prioritized in scientific research.

Since genetic factors impact on a rather common, transitory expression of psychosis during development, poor prognosis in terms of clinical need can be predicted by environmental exposure interacting with genetic risk.

The current development of tools allowing the actual measurement of vulnerability caused by gene-environment interaction will enable clinicians to monitor, and possibly modify, vulnerability at the behavioural level.

The findings of the EU-GEI project are promising with regard to preventing transition from subclinical psychosis to overt illness.

Conclusion

Until recently, researchers fo
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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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