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October 1979

Biologic Heterogeneity and Psychiatric ResearchPlatelet MAO Activity as a Case Study

Author Affiliations

From the Biological Psychiatry Branch (Dr Buchsbaum) and the Laboratory of Psychology and Psychopathology (Dr Rieder), National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(11):1163-1169. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780110017001

• This article examines current research strategies in biological psychiatry and the possible effects of biological heterogeneity on these strategies. First, the limited power of t test comparisons of measurements obtained from groups of patients and controls is demonstrated through a computer simulation. Second, we examine statistically the data from 14 recent platelet MAO studies to see if the heterogeneity in results of these studies could relate to an underlying biological heterogeneity. Finally, we suggest research methods we believe may be more useful than the current standard paradigm for elucidating the biological etiologies of psychiatric syndromes.