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This Month in Archives of General Psychiatry
February 2009

This Month in Archives of General Psychiatry

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(2):121. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2008.534

Tomppo et alArticle performed an association study between previously recognized risk variants of DISC1, a candidate gene for schizophrenia, and quantitative intermediate phenotypes for psychosis. They used a large unselected birth cohort from northern Finland including 4561 individuals. DISC1 was significantly associated with social anhedonia, a cardinal symptom of schizophrenia.

Using twin pairs, van der Schot et alArticle investigated the contribution of genetic and environmental factors on brain volume in twin pairs with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder was associated with a decrease in total cortical volume, while white matter volume decrease was related to the genetic risk to develop bipolar disorder. In contrast, environmental factors led to decreased cortical gray matter volume.

Using the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, Elbogen and JohnsonArticle found that the incidence of violence was higher among people with severe mental illness, but only significantly for those with substance use disorders. People with severe mental illness were more likely to possess other risk factors associated with violence; however, severe mental illness alone did not predict future violent behavior.

In a prospective study, Yim et alArticle found an increased risk for postpartum depressive symptoms in women with accelerated increases of placental corticotropin-releasing hormone during midpregnancy. These data suggest the placental corticotropin-releasing hormone level, as measured in the maternal plasma, may be useful as an early diagnostic tool to identify women at high risk, months before postpartum depressive symptoms occur.

Goldin et alArticle found that, compared with healthy controls, participants with social anxiety disorder demonstrated exaggerated negative emotion reactivity and reduced cognitive regulation–related neural activation, specifically for social threat stimuli. These behavioral and brain findings help to elucidate potential neural mechanisms of emotion regulation that might serve as biomarkers for interventions for social anxiety disorder.

Primack et alArticle used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health to assess the relationship between electronic media exposure in nondepressed middle adolescents and subsequent development of depression after 7 years of follow-up. Those reporting higher baseline television and total media use had significantly greater odds of developing depression, especially among males.

Based on Danish longitudinal population-based registers, Munk-Olsen et alArticle examined risk of psychiatric readmission during the postpartum period in primiparous mothers with preexisting mental disorders. Childbirth was associated with an increased risk of readmission during the first postpartum month, and new mothers with a history of bipolar affective disorder were especially at risk for postpartum readmissons, with 26% of mothers with bipolar disorder being readmitted within the first 12 months after childbirth.

Using positron emission tomography, Van Laere et alArticle found an inverse relationship between cerebral type 1 cannabinoid receptor availability and novelty-seeking temperament, particularly in the amygdala. These findings further suggest a role of the endocannabinoid system in pathological behavior related to novelty seeking such as addiction and eating disorders.

Lubman et alArticle used a multimethod approach to examine hedonic responses to natural reinforcers and drug cues in opiate addiction, as well as their relationship with clinical outcomes. They found that heroin users consistently demonstrated reduced responsiveness to natural reinforcers (ie, anhedonia) across a range of psychophysiological measures and that subjective ratings of pleasant pictures robustly predicted regular heroin use at follow-up.

Olfson et alArticle report recent progress in closing a racial gap in the length of psychiatric office-based visits by white and African American patients in the United States. After controlling for several patient, psychiatrist, and practice characteristics, the adjusted mean difference in visit duration fell from 7.4 minutes (P < .001) in 2001-2003 to −1.4 minutes (P = .25) in 2004-2006 (period-by-race interaction, P = .01).