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Alterations in dopaminergic and serotonergic systems have been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia for many years. This study was performed to assess the possible involvement of the dopamine receptor genes D2 (DRD2), D3, D4, serotonin receptor genes 1Dα, 1Dβ, and 2A in the etiology of schizophrenia.
We examined 33 multiplex schizophrenic families from Portugal.
Linkage analysis performed by GENE-HUNTER showed nonsignificant linkage for these genes. A maximum nonparametric linkage score of 1.635 (P=.032) at DRD2 gene was observed, and this finding suggests DRD2 gene for further studies.
the polymorphisms studied at dopamine receptor genes D3, D4, serotonin receptor genes 1Dα, 1Dβ, and 2A do not have a major effect in susceptibility to schizophrenia in a Portuguese population.
Genetic anticipation refers to an inheritance pattern within a pedigree showing a decrease in age of onset or an increase in disease severity or both in successive generations. This phenomenon has become the focus of important research in schizophrenia and bipolar mood disorder. The results to date have been controversial and far from conclusive. To attempt to resolve some of the earlier findings, we compared age at onset and disease severity between two generations in 24 Portuguese families ascertained for genetic linkage studies of bipolar mood disorder. There was a significant decrease in age of onset (P<. 00001) and increase in frequency of episodes (P<.0001)from the first to the second generation. This difference was significant under each of the four data-sampling schemes, one of which excluded probands. The second generation experienced onset 12.4 to 15.9 years earlier and illness 2.3 to 2.6 times more severe than did the first generation. We found no evidence for a specific effect in anticipation related to the transmitting parent's sex. Results of the present study, analyzed carefully for a variety of possible biases, suggest evidence for genetic anticipation in these Portuguese bipolar families.
Background: Differential diagnosis implies identifying shared and divergent characteristics between clinical states. Clinical work with older adults demands not only the knowledge of nosological features associated with differential diagnosis, but also recognition of idiosyncratic factors associated with this population. Several factors can interfere with an accurate diagnosis of specific phobia in older cohorts. The goal of this paper is to review criteria for specific phobia and its differential diagnosis with panic disorder, agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, while stressing the specific factors associated with aging.
Methods: A literature search regarding specific phobia in older adults was carried out using PubMed. Relevant articles were selected and scanned for further pertinent references. In addition, relevant references related to differential diagnosis and assessment were used.
Results: Etiologic factors, specificity of feared stimulus or situation, fear predictability and the nature of phobic situations are key points to be assessed when implementing a differential diagnosis of specific phobia.
Conclusions: First, age-related sensory impairments are common and interfere both with information processing and communication. Second, medical illnesses create symptoms that might cause, interfere with, or mimic anxiety. Third, cohort effects might result in underreporting, through the inability to communicate or recognize anxiety symptoms, misattributing them to physical conditions. Finally, diagnostic criteria and screening instruments were usually developed using younger samples and are therefore not adapted to the functional and behavioral characteristics of older samples.
Schizophrenia is associated with expanded CAG/CTG trinucleotide repeats. We wished to determine whether the presence of such expansions correlated with specific subsyndromes or other clinical features of schizophrenia.
Seventy patients from England and Wales and 44 patients from Portugal with a DSM–III–R diagnosis of schizophrenia were rated on the opcrit checklist Patients' maximum CAG/CTG repeat length was measured using repeat expansion detection (RED). Significant differences were sought for repeat lengths in subjects categorised according to dimensional and categorical schizophrenia subsyndromes, affective episodes, individual symptoms, and a range of demographic variables.
Maximum CAG/CTG repeat length did not differ significantly for any of the clinical or demographic variables studied.
There are no subsyndromes or other clinical features of schizophrenia associated with CAG/CTG repeat expansion. Therefore, the identification of the gene(s) that contain expanded CAG/CTG repeats and which are associated with schizophrenia is unlikely to be facilitated at present by using any subsyndromes of schizophrenia as phenotypes.
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