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July 1969

Screening for Aminoacidurias in Psychiatric Inpatients

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(1):82-88. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740190084012

SCREENING for aminoacidurias has proven extremely valuable in eliciting biochemical causes for certain cases of mental retardation. Certain of the aminoacidurias are also associated with psychiatric symptomatology. The present study details the findings from a screening program for aminoacidurias conducted with 949 consecutive adult admissions to the Massachusetts Mental Health Center over a 15-month time span (1967 to 1968). The purpose was exploratory—to see if any of the aminoacidurias known to be associated with psychiatric disorders could be detected, and to search for new associations. It was also our goal to evaluate the public health value of such screening procedures in a community mental health setting.

Aminoacidurias With Psychiatric Manifestations  Several associations of amino acid disorders with psychiatric illness have been reported. In Hartnup disease the crucial disorder is thought to be tryptophan metabolism (Table). Abnormal metabolites are produced and nicotinic acid

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