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Is there a developmental component to the risk for depression?
Date:12/10/2007

Philadelphia, PA, December 10, 2007 Psychiatrists remain divided as to how to define and classify the mood and anxiety disorders, the most common mental disorders. Committees across the globe are currently pondering how best to carve nature at its anxious joints for the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V), the gold standard reference book for psychiatrists. Only recently has the process of refining the diagnostic system been informed by high quality longitudinal data. An important new study of this type was published in the December 1st issue of Biological Psychiatry.

Ian Colman, Ph.D., the lead author, notes, Rarely have classification systems in psychiatry considered the nature of symptoms of depression and anxiety over time; however research into trajectories of alcohol abuse and antisocial behaviour shows that accounting for symptoms over time may help in better understanding causes and outcomes of these disorders. Colman and colleagues at the University of Cambridge in England and the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development (now called the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing), using fundamental ideas about the life-course origins of common mental illnesses, statistical techniques for handling large quantities of longitudinal information and one of the longest running cohort studies in the world, were able to analyze data by grouping people according to their symptoms of anxiety and depression over a 40-year period.

The researchers were able to identify six courses of mental health, ranging from those with repeated severe symptoms to those in good mental health, while others fluctuated in between. Dr. Colman adds, The usefulness of characterizing people by their experience over time became evident when we investigated markers of early development, and found that those with poorer mental health over time were more likely to be smaller at birth and tended to reach developmental m
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Contact: Jayne Dawkins
ja.dawkins@elsevier.com
215-239-3674
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

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