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This Month in Archives of General Psychiatry
December 2007

This Month in Archives of General Psychiatry

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007;64(12):1346. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.64.12.1346

Toulopoulou et alArticle applied bivariate model fitting techniques to monozygotic and dizygotic twin data from the Maudsley Hospital Twin Study of Schizophrenia to quantify the genetic and environmental contributions to the variability of intelligence. As much as 92% of the covariance between intelligence and schizophrenia was accounted for by shared additive genetic effects, implying that the two share a substantial portion of their genetic variance.

Gur et alArticle used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study flat affect in schizophrenia by examining brain activation in response to faces expressing emotions. They report that in healthy people greater amygdala activation was associated with correct identifications of threat-related expressions (anger and fear), while patients showed a paradoxically opposite effect of limbic activation, portending misidentifications. Furthermore, amygdala activation to the presentation of fearful faces was highly correlated with greater severity of flat affect in patients.

Using a UK general practice database, Hippisley-Cox et alArticle compared the risk of 6 common cancers in people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or neither condition. Adjusting for smoking, body mass index, socioeconomic status, comorbid conditions, and prescribed medications, people with schizophrenia had a 3-fold higher risk of colon cancer, a 52% higher risk of breast cancer, and a 47% decreased risk of respiratory cancer.

AgerboArticle examined the association between suicide, income, employment, education, and marriage after psychiatric admission using population-based routine registers. Suicide is generally associated with low income, unemployment, educational underachievement, and singleness, but this observational study suggests that the opposite is true among psychiatric patients. However, loss of income, labor market status, and marriage increase the patient's risk of suicide, and longer duration of inpatient stay might help to prevent suicides.

Arabia et alArticle found an increased risk of depressive disorders and anxiety disorders among first-degree relatives of patients with Parkinson disease compared with first-degree relatives of controls living in Olmsted County, Minnesota. The findings suggest that depressive disorders and anxiety disorders may share familial susceptibility factors with Parkinson disease.

Kubzansky and ThurstonArticle examined whether healthy psychological functioning, characterized by emotional vitality, is associated with reduced risk of developing coronary heart disease, using prospective data in a probability sample of US adults. Among initially healthy individuals, those reporting higher levels of emotional vitality had significantly reduced risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Procopio and MarriottArticle established the prevalence of anorexia nervosa in male and female members of a large cohort of Swedish twins. As expected, men's prevalence was significantly lower than women’s; the only exception was male members of opposite-sex twins, who showed prevalence comparable with women. This finding is compatible with the hypothesis that female fetuses are exposed in utero to an environment that increases the risk of developing anorexia nervosa as an adult.

Klump et alArticle investigated longitudinal changes in genetic and environmental influences on disordered eating across adolescence in female twins. While genetic factors accounted for a negligible proportion of variance at age 11 years, genes increased in importance and accounted for roughly half of the variance in disordered eating at ages 14 and 18 years.

Feusner et alArticle investigated visual processing of faces in body dysmorphic disorder using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Subjects were scanned while matching faces that were digitally altered to remove the high or low spatial frequencies, which contained configural or detail information, respectively. The body dysmorphic disorder group demonstrated greater left-sided activity in prefrontal and temporal regions for low spatial frequency and normal faces, suggesting greater detail encoding and analysis.

Galea et alArticle surveyed victims of Hurricane Katrina and found high prevalence of DSM-IV anxiety-mood disorders. Highly prevalent ongoing hurricane-related stressors were strongly related to anxiety-mood disorders. These stressors were largely independent of sociodemographics. The strength of association between these stressors and anxiety-mood disorders was also largely unrelated to sociodemographics.

The role of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in causing drug use problems is confounded by early life experiences and predisposition implicated as possible causal agents of both disorders. For 988 young adults followed up since entry into first grade, Reed et alArticle report that among persons with prior PTSD (but not prior trauma without PTSD) there was an association with a substantial relative risk for incident drug use disorders (relative risk > 4.0) after statistical adjustment for childhood assessments of conduct problems, cognitive achievement, risk taking, and family socioeconomic level.

Dickerson et alArticle used clinical assessment methods to determine the severity of cognitive symptoms in daily life and neuropsychological impairment in individuals spanning a spectrum of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). They were able to identify a group of individuals with “very mild” MCI, who would not meet typical diagnostic criteria for MCI and who were useful in grading the risk of future Alzheimer disease dementia.