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What is the brain telling us about the diagnoses of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder?
Date:9/5/2013

Philadelphia, PA, September 5, 2013 We live in the most exciting and unsettling period in the history of psychiatry since Freud started talking about sex in public.

On the one hand, the American Psychiatric Association has introduced the fifth iteration of the psychiatric diagnostic manual, DSM-V, representing the current best effort of the brightest clinical minds in psychiatry to categorize the enormously complex pattern of human emotional, cognitive, and behavioral problems. On the other hand, in new and profound ways, neuroscience and genetics research in psychiatry are yielding insights that challenge the traditional diagnostic schema that have long been at the core of the field.

"Our current diagnostic system, DSM-V represents a very reasonable attempt to classify patients by their symptoms. Symptoms are an extremely important part of all medical diagnoses, but imagine how limited we would be if we categorized all forms of pneumonia as 'coughing disease," commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.

A paper by Sabin Khadka and colleagues that appears in the September 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry advances the discussion of one of these roiling psychiatric diagnostic dilemmas.

One of the core hypotheses is that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are distinct scientific entities. Emil Kraepelin, credited by many as the father of modern scientific psychiatry, was the first to draw a distinction between dementia praecox (schizophrenia) and manic depression (bipolar disorder) in the late 19th century based on the behavioral profiles of these syndromes. Yet, patients within each diagnosis can have a wide variation of symptoms, some symptoms appear to be in common across these diagnoses, and antipsychotic medications used to treat schizophrenia are very commonly prescribed to patients with bipolar disorder.

But at the level of brain circuit function, do schizophrenia and bipolar
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Contact: Jordi van de Weerd
j.weerd@elsevier.com
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

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