Navigation Links
McLean: Improvements are needed for accuracy in gene-by-environment interaction studies
Date:9/8/2011

Belmont, MAA new study from McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School and the University of Colorado concludes that genetic research drawing correlations between specific genes, environmental variables and the combined impact they have on the development of some psychiatric illnesses needs additional scrutiny and replication before being accepted as true.

McLean Hospital investigator Laramie Duncan, PhD, and co-author Matthew Keller, PhD, at the University of Colorado conducted a comprehensive review of the first decade of research looking at how specific genes and environmental variables interact to influence psychiatric disorders including depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), alcohol abuse and suicidal behaviors. The study, "A Critical Review of the First 10 Years of Candidate Gene-by-Environment Interaction Research in Psychiatry," is now available online ahead of print publication in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

"Based on our calculations and data from related fields, we estimate that many of the positive findings in this particular area of research may (unintentionally) be incorrect," said Duncan. "What we suggest, to be certain about such correlations, is a focus on the cornerstone of scientific investigationwhich is replication. The more we can replicate original findings in follow-up studies, the more we can be sure the results are accurate."

Duncan stressed that her paper is not meant to call for skepticism about the existence of gene-by-environment interactions, or psychiatric research in general, but to shed light on the fact that consistent, replicable results deserve more attention than novel findings and indirect replications.

"Genetic research is like trying to identify a needle in a haystack and statistically, it is predicable that investigators will find and report false positives," said Duncan. "To separate the wheat from the chaff, we need to do follow up studies and replicate the outcomes. That's the only way we can differentiate between accurate findings and the inevitable false positives."

Duncan, who also holds appointments at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, came upon her research topic while preparing to conduct a study much like the ones she reviewed in her paper. However, in the course of reviewing relevant literature, she noticed trends that prompted her to subject the data to additional statistical tests. When the numbers suggested reason for concern, Duncan's research plans shifted focus.

Duncan and her co-author categorized each of the 103 research studies conducted in the field of gene-by-environment interaction research in psychiatry between 2000 and 2009 as either novel--representing the first reports of particular interactions--or replication studiesefforts to confirm other researchers' results. After analyzing the data, they found that the rate of published significant novel results far outnumbered the rate of replicated results of the same studies. Past reviews have observed that novel findings are more likely to be published but are also more likely to be false positives.

"Upon comparing novel with replication studies, we realized that the many discrepancies are likely a result of publication bias toward positive findings," said Duncan.

According to Duncan and Keller, the tendency to favor publishing significant results over non-significant results is common in research, due both to the desire of publications to showcase groundbreaking findings, and to the decision of authors' not to submit null findings. But, Duncan warns that this bias can be misleading, if one is unaware of it and does not take into account in interpreting the validity of published findings.

"Publication bias is problematic because it produces a distorted representation of findings in an area of study," said Duncan. "Through our research we found that 96 percent of novel studies were significant compared with just 27 percent of replication attempts, suggesting that novel findings appear much stronger than they actually are."


'/>"/>

Contact: Adriana Bobinchock
abobinchock@partners.org
617-855-2110
McLean Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Improvements in embryonic preimplantation genetic screening techniques
2. Microreactors: Small scale chemistry could lead to big improvements for biodegradable polymers
3. Key nutrient in maternal diet promises dramatic improvements for people with Down syndrome
4. Womens support groups make dramatic improvements on neonatal survival rates
5. Government-led efforts targeting eating habits of children needed to curb worldwide obesity epidemic
6. Increased protection urgently needed for tunas
7. Biomaterial banks for research -- clear strategies and recommendations needed
8. Further research needed to develop evidence-based nutrition guidelines for cancer survivors
9. New approach needed to prevent major systemic failures
10. Wheat resistance genes failing, new approach needed to stop flies
11. More research needed on diet and environmental influences on childhood asthma
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for ... Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window ... imaging data, the first application of deep learning to ... stem cell lines and a growing suite of powerful ... for these and future publicly available resources created and ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... ANGELES , March 30, 2017  On April ... Hack the Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s ... exciting two-day competition will focus on developing health and ... Hack the Genome is the ... been tremendous. The world,s largest companies in the genomics, ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) has ... Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 on ... . In addition, CHS previously earned a place ... an electronic medical record (EMR). "HIMSS ... of EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  This ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Kapstone Medical is proud to announce that it ... companies and inventors develop and safeguard their latest innovations. The company has grown ... portfolio of clients in the United States and around the world. , Company ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Kenall, a leader in sealed solid-state lighting, ... sealed and perform efficiently for years. The downlights are ideal for a variety ... such as: hospitals; behavioral health facilities; cleanrooms; containment areas; food and pharmaceutical processing ...
(Date:8/14/2017)... ... August 14, 2017 , ... Every year, millions of ... the antibody community have recently come together to address this antibody crisis and ... , The team at Thermo Fisher Scientific has arranged ...
(Date:8/11/2017)... ... August 11, 2017 , ... A staple in the community for more ... incorporate important key elements including a new digital marketing strategy and updated logo. , ... Bill Miller has partnered with the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center for the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: