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Editorial
November 1, 2017

Inference in Psychiatry via 2-Sample Mendelian Randomization—From Association to Causal Pathway?

Author Affiliations
  • 1The University of Queensland, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, Brisbane, Australia
  • 2The University of Queensland, Queensland Brain Institute, Brisbane, Australia
JAMA Psychiatry. Published online November 1, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.3162

A key goal of psychiatric epidemiology is to identify causal risk factors for psychiatric disorders that, when modified through an intervention, will lower incidence of disease and decrease burdens of symptoms in patients with the disease. Observational studies have identified several potential risk factors that are associated with mental illness, but identifying those that are causal rather than associated is challenging because of confounding, selection bias, reverse causation, or pleiotropy (ie, a single gene may influence multiple unrelated phenotypic traits).

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