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Case-only longitudinal studies are common in psychiatry. Further, it is assumed that psychiatric ratings and questionnaire results of healthy controls stay stable over foreseeable time ranges. For cognitive tests, improvements over time are expected, but data for more than two administrations are scarce.
We comprehensively investigated the longitudinal course for trends over time in cognitive and symptom measurements for severe mental disorders. Assessments included the Trail Making Tests, verbal Digit Span tests, Global Assessment of Functioning, Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology, the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, and the Young Mania Rating Scale, among others.
Using the data of control individuals (n = 326) from the PsyCourse study who had up to four assessments over 18 months, we modelled the course using linear mixed models or logistic regression. The slopes or odds ratios were estimated and adjusted for age and gender. We also assessed the robustness of these results using a longitudinal non-parametric test in a sensitivity analysis.
Small effects were detected for most cognitive tests, indicating a performance improvement over time (P < 0.05). However, for most of the symptom rating scales and questionnaires, no effects were detected, in line with our initial hypothesis.
The slightly but consistently improved performance in the cognitive tests speaks of a test-unspecific positive trend, while psychiatric ratings and questionnaire results remain stable over the observed period. These detectable improvements need to be considered when interpreting longitudinal courses. We therefore recommend recruiting control participants if cognitive tests are administered.
To date, besides genome-wide association studies, a variety of other genetic analyses (e.g. polygenic risk scores, whole-exome sequencing and whole-genome sequencing) have been conducted, and a large amount of data has been gathered for investigating the involvement of common, rare and very rare types of DNA sequence variants in bipolar disorder. Also, non-invasive neuroimaging methods can be used to quantify changes in brain structure and function in patients with bipolar disorder.
To provide a comprehensive assessment of genetic findings associated with bipolar disorder, based on the evaluation of different genomic approaches and neuroimaging studies.
We conducted a PubMed search of all relevant literatures from the beginning to the present, by querying related search strings.
ANK3, CACNA1C, SYNE1, ODZ4 and TRANK1 are five genes that have been replicated as key gene candidates in bipolar disorder pathophysiology, through the investigated studies. The percentage of phenotypic variance explained by the identified variants is small (approximately 4.7%). Bipolar disorder polygenic risk scores are associated with other psychiatric phenotypes. The ENIGMA-BD studies show a replicable pattern of lower cortical thickness, altered white matter integrity and smaller subcortical volumes in bipolar disorder.
The low amount of explained phenotypic variance highlights the need for further large-scale investigations, especially among non-European populations, to achieve a more complete understanding of the genetic architecture of bipolar disorder and the missing heritability. Combining neuroimaging data with genetic data in large-scale studies might help researchers acquire a better knowledge of the engaged brain regions in bipolar disorder.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, with its impact on our way of life, is affecting our experiences and mental health. Notably, individuals with mental disorders have been reported to have a higher risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2. Personality traits could represent an important determinant of preventative health behaviour and, therefore, the risk of contracting the virus.
We examined overlapping genetic underpinnings between major psychiatric disorders, personality traits and susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Linkage disequilibrium score regression was used to explore the genetic correlations of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) susceptibility with psychiatric disorders and personality traits based on data from the largest available respective genome-wide association studies (GWAS). In two cohorts (the PsyCourse (n = 1346) and the HeiDE (n = 3266) study), polygenic risk scores were used to analyse if a genetic association between, psychiatric disorders, personality traits and COVID-19 susceptibility exists in individual-level data.
We observed no significant genetic correlations of COVID-19 susceptibility with psychiatric disorders. For personality traits, there was a significant genetic correlation for COVID-19 susceptibility with extraversion (P = 1.47 × 10−5; genetic correlation 0.284). Yet, this was not reflected in individual-level data from the PsyCourse and HeiDE studies.
We identified no significant correlation between genetic risk factors for severe psychiatric disorders and genetic risk for COVID-19 susceptibility. Among the personality traits, extraversion showed evidence for a positive genetic association with COVID-19 susceptibility, in one but not in another setting. Overall, these findings highlight a complex contribution of genetic and non-genetic components in the interaction between COVID-19 susceptibility and personality traits or mental disorders.
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