March 01, 2004

Genetic Predisposition towards Schizophrenia

Genes and Environment interaction in schizophrenia-spectrum disorder

An article in this month's British Journal of Psychiatry suggests that "Within schizophrenia-spectrum disorder, it is demonstrated that adopted-away offspring of mothers with schizophrenia-spectrum disorder are significantly more sensitive to an adverse family rearing pattern than the adoptees of healthy mothers (Tienari et al, pp. 216�222)."

This suggests families with histories of schizophrenia (that is, where a person in the family has - in the past - gotten schizophrenia) that by being more careful in certain areas (see our page on "Preventing Schizophrenia") that incidence of developing schizophrenia could be reduced.

The information suggests the protective effect of being reared in a healthy adoptive family, with the risk for these high-genetic-risk adoptees developing schizophrenia in healthy families at 1.49% compared with 13% for those reared in "dysfunctional" families. This lends significant support to the stress and hereditary predisposition model of the cause of schizophrenia, in which environmental stressors have a particularly harmful impact only on individuals with a genetic vulnerability.


Did you read about the recent research described at ? The implications are limited, but it is strongish evidence for a hereditary basis for at least one variety of schizophrenia.

Posted by: Peter Hankins at April 13, 2004 10:17 PM

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