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Familial co-aggregation studies of eating disorders (EDs) and schizophrenia reveal shared genetic and environment factors, yet their etiological and clinical relationship remains unclear. We evaluate the influence of schizophrenia family history on clinical outcomes of EDs.
We conducted a cohort evaluation of the association between family history of schizophrenia and ED clinical features, psychiatric comorbidities, and somatic and mental health burden in individuals born in Sweden 1977–2003 with anorexia nervosa (AN) or other EDs (OED: bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and ED not otherwise specified).
Of 12 424 individuals with AN and 20 716 individuals with OED, 599 (4.8%) and 1118 (5.4%), respectively, had a family history of schizophrenia (in up to third-degree relatives). Among individuals with AN, schizophrenia in first-degree relatives was significantly associated with increased comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) [HR(95% CI) 2.26 (1.27–3.99)], substance abuse disorder (SUD) [HR (95% CI) 1.93 (1.25–2.98)], and anxiety disorders [HR (95% CI) 1.47 (1.08–2.01)], but higher lowest illness-associated body mass index (BMI) [1.14 kg/m2, 95% CI (0.19–2.10)]. Schizophrenia in any relative (up to third-degree) in AN was significantly associated with higher somatic and mental health burden, but lower ED psychopathology scores [−0.29, 95% CI (−0.54 to −0.04)]. Schizophrenia in first-degree relatives in individuals with OED was significantly associated with increased comorbid ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, SUD, anxiety disorders, somatic and mental health burden, and suicide attempts.
We observed different patterns of ED-related outcomes, psychiatric comorbidity, and illness burden in individuals with EDs with and without family histories of schizophrenia and provide new insights into the diverse manifestations of EDs.
There is evidence that autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) co-occur with bipolar disorder (BD) relatively frequently. Individuals with BD often report symptoms of mania and hypomania during adolescence, prior to the age of onset for BD. It is unknown whether these symptoms are associated with ASDs. We examined whether diagnoses of ASDs and autistic traits were associated with hypomania in a large, population-based Swedish twin sample.
Parental structured interviews assessed autistic traits, and were used to assign screening diagnoses of ASDs, when twins were aged 9 or 12 (N = 13 533 pairs). Parents then completed questionnaires assessing hypomania when the twins were aged 15 and 18 (N = 3852 pairs at age 15, and 3013 pairs at age 18). After investigating the phenotypic associations between these measures, we used the classical twin design to test whether genetic and environmental influences on autistic traits influence variation in adolescent hypomania.
Autistic traits and ASD diagnoses in childhood were associated with elevated scores on the measures of adolescent hypomania. Twin analyses indicated that 6–9% of the variance in hypomania was explained by genetic influences that were shared with autistic traits in childhood. When repeating these analyses for specific autistic trait domains, we found a stronger association between social interaction difficulties and hypomania than for other autistic trait domains.
These results indicate a genetic link between autistic traits and hypomania in adolescence. This adds to the growing evidence base of genetic factors associated with ASDs showing links with psychiatric outcomes across childhood and into adulthood.
Individuals diagnosed with psychiatric disorders who are prescribed antipsychotics have lower rates of violence and crime but the differential effects of specific antipsychotics are not known. We investigated associations between 10 specific antipsychotic medications and subsequent risks for a range of criminal outcomes.
We identified 74 925 individuals who were ever prescribed antipsychotics between 2006 and 2013 using nationwide Swedish registries. We tested for five specific first-generation antipsychotics (levomepromazine, perphenazine, haloperidol, flupentixol, and zuclopenthixol) and five second-generation antipsychotics (clozapine, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone, and aripiprazole). The outcomes included violent, drug-related, and any criminal arrests and convictions. We conducted within-individual analyses using fixed-effects Poisson regression models that compared rates of outcomes between periods when each individual was either on or off medication to account for time-stable unmeasured confounders. All models were adjusted for age and concurrent mood stabilizer medications.
The relative risks of all crime outcomes were substantially reduced [range of adjusted rate ratios (aRRs): 0.50–0.67] during periods when the patients were prescribed antipsychotics v. periods when they were not. We found that clozapine (aRRs: 0.28–0.44), olanzapine (aRRs: 0.46–0.72), and risperidone (aRRs: 0.53–0.64) were associated with lower arrest and conviction risks than other antipsychotics, including quetiapine (aRRs: 0.68–0.84) and haloperidol (aRRs: 0.67–0.77). Long-acting injectables as a combined medication class were associated with lower risks of the outcomes but only risperidone was associated with lower risks of all six outcomes (aRRs: 0.33–0.69).
There is heterogeneity in the associations between specific antipsychotics and subsequent arrests and convictions for any drug-related and violent crimes.
Socioeconomic factors can affect healthcare management.
The aim was to investigate if patient educational attainment is associated with management of bipolar disorder.
We included patients with bipolar disorder type 1 (n = 4289), type 2 (n = 4020) and not otherwise specified (n = 1756), from the Swedish National Quality Register for Bipolar Disorder (BipoläR). The association between patients’ educational level and pharmacological and psychological interventions was analysed by binary logistic regression. We calculated odds ratios after adjusting for demographic and clinical variables.
Higher education was associated with increased likelihood of receiving psychotherapy (adjusted odds ratio 1.34, 95% CI 91.22–1.46) and psychoeducation (adjusted odds ratio 1.18, 95% CI 1.07–1.46), but with lower likelihood of receiving first-generation antipsychotics (adjusted odds ratio 0.76, 95% CI 0.62–0.94) and tricyclic antidepressants (adjusted odds ratio 0.76, 95% CI 0.59–0.97). Higher education was also associated with lower risk for compulsory in-patient care (adjusted odds ratio 0.79, 95% CI 0.67–0.93).
Pharmacological and psychological treatment of bipolar disorder differ depending on patients’ educational attainment. The reasons for these disparities remain to be explained.
Previous research indicates that body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is associated with risk of suicidality. However, studies have relied on small and/or specialist samples and largely focussed on adults, despite these difficulties commonly emerging in youth. Furthermore, the aetiology of the relationship remains unknown.
Two independent twin samples were identified through the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden, at ages 18 (N = 6027) and 24 (N = 3454). Participants completed a self-report measure of BDD symptom severity. Young people and parents completed items assessing suicidal ideation/behaviours. Logistic regression models tested the association of suicidality outcomes with: (a) probable BDD, classified using an empirically derived cut-off; and (b) continuous scores of BDD symptoms. Bivariate genetic models examined the aetiology of the association between BDD symptoms and suicidality at both ages.
Suicidal ideation and behaviours were common among those with probable BDD at both ages. BDD symptoms, measured continuously, were linked with all aspects of suicidality, and associations generally remained significant after adjusting for depressive and anxiety symptoms. Genetic factors accounted for most of the covariance between BDD symptoms and suicidality (72.9 and 77.7% at ages 18 and 24, respectively), but with significant non-shared environmental influences (27.1 and 22.3% at ages 18 and 24, respectively).
BDD symptoms are associated with a substantial risk of suicidal ideation and behaviours in late adolescence and early adulthood. This relationship is largely explained by common genetic liability, but non-shared environmental effects are also significant and could provide opportunities for prevention among those at high-risk.
Although attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder in the latest diagnostic manuals, it shows phenotypic and genetic associations of similar magnitudes across neurodevelopmental, externalising and internalising disorders.
To investigate if ADHD is aetiologically more closely related to neurodevelopmental than externalising or internalising disorder clusters, after accounting for a general psychopathology factor.
Full and maternal half-sibling pairs (N = 774 416), born between 1980 and 1995, were identified from the Swedish Medical Birth and Multi-Generation Registers, and ICD diagnoses were obtained from the Swedish National Patient Register. A higher-order confirmatory factor analytic model was fitted to examine associations between ADHD and a general psychopathology factor, as well as a neurodevelopmental, externalising and internalising subfactor. Quantitative genetic modelling was performed to estimate the extent to which genetic, shared and non-shared environmental effects influenced the associations with ADHD.
ADHD was significantly and strongly associated with all three factors (r = 0.67–0.75). However, after controlling for a general psychopathology factor, only the association between ADHD and the neurodevelopmental-specific factor remained moderately strong (r = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.42–0.45) and was almost entirely influenced by genetic effects. In contrast, the association between ADHD and the externalising-specific factor was smaller (r = 0.25, 95% CI = 0.24–0.27), and largely influenced by non-shared environmental effects. There remained no internalising-specific factor after accounting for a general factor.
Findings suggest that ADHD comorbidity is largely explained by genetically influenced general psychopathology, but the strong link between ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders is also substantially driven by unique genetic influences.
To describe characteristics of self-identified popular diet followers and compare mean BMI across these diets, stratified by time following diet.
Cross-sectional, web-based survey administered in 2015.
Non-localised, international survey.
Self-selected followers of popular diets (n 9019) were recruited to the survey via social media and email announcements by diet community leaders, categorised into eight major diet groups.
General linear models were used to compare mean BMI among (1) short-term (<1 year) and long-term (≥1 year) followers within diet groups and (2) those identifying as ‘try to eat healthy’ (TTEH) to all other diet groups, stratified by time following the specific diet. Participants were 82 % female, 93 % White and 96 % non-Hispanic. Geometric mean BMI was lower (P < 0·05 for all) among longer-term followers (≥1 year) of whole food, plant-based (WFPB), vegan, whole food and low-carb diets compared with shorter-term followers. Among those following their diet for 1–5 years (n 4067), geometric mean BMI (kg/m2) were lower (P < 0·05 for all) for all groups compared with TTEH (26·4 kg/m2): WFPB (23·2 kg/m2), vegan (23·5 kg/m2), Paleo (24·6 kg/m2), vegetarian (25·0 kg/m2), whole food (24·6 kg/m2), Weston A. Price (23·5 kg/m2) and low-carb (24·7 kg/m2).
Our findings suggest that BMI is lower among individuals who made active decisions to adhere to a specific diet, particularly more plant-based diets and/or diets limiting highly processed foods, compared with those who simply TTEH. BMI is also lower among individuals who follow intentional eating plans for longer time periods.
Genetically informed studies have provided mixed findings as to what extent parental substance misuse is associated with offspring substance misuse and antisocial behavior due to shared environmental and genetic factors.
We linked data from nationwide registries for a cohort of 2 476 198 offspring born in Sweden 1958–1995 and their parents. Substance misuse was defined as International Classification of Diseases diagnoses of alcohol/drug use disorders or alcohol/drug-related criminal convictions. Quantitative genetic offspring-of-siblings analyses in offspring of monozygotic and dizygotic twin, full-sibling, and half-sibling parents were conducted.
Both maternal and paternal substance misuse were robustly associated with offspring substance misuse [maternal adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 1.83 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.80–1.87); paternal aHR = 1.96 (1.94–1.98)] and criminal convictions [maternal aHR = 1.56 (1.54–1.58); paternal aHR = 1.66 (1.64–1.67)]. Additive genetic effects explained 42% (95% CI 25–56%) and 46% (36–55%) of the variance in maternal and paternal substance misuse, respectively, and between 36 and 44% of the variance in substance misuse and criminality in offspring. The associations between parental substance misuse and offspring outcomes were mostly due to additive genetic effects, which explained 54–85% of the parent-offspring covariance. However, both nuclear and extended family environmental factors also contributed to the associations, especially with offspring substance misuse.
Our findings from a large offspring-of-siblings study indicate that shared genetic influences mostly explain the associations between parental substance misuse and both offspring substance misuse and criminality, but we also found evidence for the contribution of environmental factors shared by members of nuclear and extended families.
Many psychiatric disorders show gender differences in prevalence. Recent studies suggest that female patients diagnosed with anxiety and depression carry more genetic risks related to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) compared with affected males.
In this register-based study, we aimed to test whether female patients who received clinical diagnoses of anxiety, depressive, bipolar and eating disorders are at higher familial risk for ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders, compared with diagnosed male patients.
We analysed data from a record-linkage of several Swedish national registers, including 151 025 sibling pairs from 103 941 unique index individuals diagnosed with anxiety, depressive, bipolar or eating disorders, as well as data from 646 948 cousin pairs. We compared the likelihood of having a relative diagnosed with ADHD/neurodevelopmental disorders in index males and females.
Female patients with anxiety disorders were more likely than affected males to have a brother with ADHD (odd ratio (OR) = 1.13, 95% CI 1.05–1.22). Results for broader neurodevelopmental disorders were similar and were driven by ADHD diagnoses. Follow-up analyses revealed similar point estimates for several categories of anxiety disorders, with the strongest effect observed for agoraphobia (OR = 1.64, 95% CI 1.12–2.39). No significant associations were found in individuals with depressive, bipolar or eating disorders, or in cousins.
These results provide modest support for the possibility that familial/genetic risks for ADHD may show gender-specific phenotypic expression. Alternatively, there could be gender-specific biases in diagnoses of anxiety and ADHD. These factors could play a small role in the observed gender differences in prevalence of ADHD and anxiety.
Accumulating evidence suggests that many psychiatric disorders etiologically represent the extreme end of dimensionally distributed features rather than distinct entities. The extent to which this applies to eating disorders (EDs) is unknown.
We investigated if there is similar etiology in (a) the continuous distribution of the Eating Disorder Inventory-2 (EDI-2), (b) the extremes of EDI-2 score, and (c) registered ED diagnoses, in 1481 female twin pairs at age 18 years (born 1992–1999). EDI-2 scores were self-reported at age 18. ED diagnoses were identified through the Swedish National Patient Register, parent-reported treatment and/or self-reported purging behavior of a frequency and duration consistent with DSM-IV criteria. We differentiated between anorexia nervosa (AN) and other EDs.
The heritability of the EDI-2 score was 0.65 (95% CI 0.61–0.68). The group heritabilities in DeFries–Fulker extremes analyses were consistent over different percentile-based extreme groups [0.59 (95% CI 0.37–0.81) to 0.65 (95% CI 0.55–0.75)]. Similarly, the heritabilities in liability threshold models were consistent over different levels of severity. In joint categorical-continuous models, the twin-based genetic correlation was 0.52 (95% CI 0.39–0.65) between EDI-2 score and diagnoses of other EDs, and 0.26 (95% CI 0.08–0.42) between EDI-2 score and diagnoses of AN. The non-shared environmental correlations were 0.52 (95% CI 0.32–0.70) and 0.60 (95% CI 0.38–0.79), respectively.
Our findings suggest that some EDs can partly be conceptualized as the extreme manifestation of continuously distributed ED features. AN, however, might be more distinctly genetically demarcated from ED features in the general population than other EDs.
The Swedish Twin Registry functions as research infrastructure containing information on 216,258 twins born between 1886 and 2015, of whom 86,199 pairs have zygosity determined by DNA, an intrapair similarity algorithm, or being of opposite sex. In essence, practically all twins alive and currently 9 years or older have been invited for participation and donation of DNA on which genomewide single nucleotide polymorphisms array genotyping has been performed. Content, management and alternatives for future improvements are discussed.
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are two severe eating disorders associated with high premature mortality, suicidal risk and serious medical complications. Transition between anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa over the illness course and familial co-aggregation of the two eating disorders imply aetiological overlap. However, genetic and environmental liabilities to the overlap are poorly understood. Quantitative genetic research using clinical diagnosis is needed.
We acquired a clinical diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (prevalence = 0.90%) and bulimia nervosa (prevalence = 0.48%) in a large population-based sample (N = 782 938) of randomly selected full-sisters and maternal half-sisters born in Sweden between 1970 and 2005. Structural equation modelling was applied to quantify heritability of clinically diagnosed anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and the contributions of genetic and environmental effects on their overlap.
The heritability of clinically diagnosed anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa was estimated at 43% [95% confidence interval (CI) (36–50%)] and 41% (31–52%), respectively, in the study population, with the remaining variance explained by variance in unique environmental effects. We found statistically significant genetic [0.66, 95% CI (0.49–0.82)] and unique environmental correlations [0.55 (0.43–0.66)] between the two clinically diagnosed eating disorders; and their overlap was about equally explained by genetic and unique environmental effects [co-heritability 47% (35–58%)].
Our study supports shared mechanisms for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and extends the literature from self-reported behavioural measures to clinical diagnosis. The findings encourage future molecular genetic research on both eating disorders and emphasize clinical vigilance for symptom fluctuation between them.
Causes of the comorbidity of substance misuse with anxiety-related and depressive disorders (anxiety/depression) remain poorly known. We estimated associations of substance misuse and anxiety/depression in the general population and tested them while accounting for genetic and shared environmental factors.
We studied individuals born in Sweden 1968–1997 (n = 2 996 398) with follow-up in nationwide register data for 1997–2013. To account for familial effects, stratified analyses were conducted within siblings and twin pairs. Substance misuse was defined as ICD-10 alcohol or drug use disorder or an alcohol/drug-related criminal conviction. Three dimensions of ICD-10 anxiety and depressive disorders and a substance misuse dimension were identified through exploratory factor analysis.
Substance misuse was associated with a 4.5-fold (95% CI 4.50–4.58) elevated risk of lifetime generalized anxiety/depression, 4.7-fold (95% CI 4.63–4.82) elevated risk of panic disorder and agora/social phobia, and 2.9-fold elevated risk of phobias/OCD (95% CI 2.82–3.02) as compared to those without substance misuse. The associations were attenuated in within-family analyses but we found elevated risks in monozygotic twin pairs discordant for substance misuse as well as significant non-shared environmental correlations. The association between anxiety/depression and substance misuse was mainly driven by generalized anxiety/depression, whereas other anxiety/depression dimensions had minor or no independent associations with substance misuse.
Substance misuse and anxiety/depression are associated at the population level, and these associations are partially explained by familial liabilities. Our findings indicate a common genetic etiology but are also compatible with a potential partially causal relationship between substance misuse and anxiety/depression.
The immune system has been suggested to be associated with neuropsychiatric disorders; for example, elevated levels of cytokines and the inflammation-related transcription factor nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) have been reported in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The aim of this study was to investigate possible associations between autistic-like traits (ALTs) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in NFKB1 (encoding a subunit of the NF-κB protein complex) and NF-κB inhibitor-like protein 1 (NFKBIL1).
The study was conducted in a cohort from the general population: The Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS, n = 12 319, 9–12 years old). The subjects were assessed by the Autism-Tics, ADHD, and Other Comorbidities Inventory. Five SNPs within the two genes were genotyped (NFKBIL1: rs2857605, rs2239707, rs2230365 and rs2071592; NFKB1: rs4648022).
We found significant associations for two SNPs in NFKBIL1: rs2239707 showed a significant distribution of genotype frequencies in the case-control analysis both for all individuals combined and in boys only, and rs2230365 was significantly associated with the ALTs-module language impairment in boys only. Furthermore, we found nominal association in the case-control study for rs2230365, replicating earlier association between this SNP and ASD in an independent genome-wide association study.
The shown associations between polymorphisms in NFKBIL1 and ALTs are supporting an influence of the immune system on neuropsychiatric symptoms.
While much has been documented about the construction of an individual's personal values, very little attention has been paid to how personal values connect with core aspects of leadership such as purpose, behavior and legacy. Through an expansion of Ken's recent work on this topic, the authors explore the impact of personal values-led leadership. A model of how personal values shape leadership purpose, behavior and legacy is introduced. These dimensions are then illuminated through interview data from senior managers from the financial services sector. The personal value impacts are examined in the context of the literature and implications for organizations and managers are drawn together.
Maternal smoking during pregnancy (MSDP) has been linked to offspring's externalizing problems. It has been argued that socio-demographic factors (e.g. maternal age and education), co-occurring environmental risk factors, or pleiotropic genetic effects may account for the association between MSDP and later outcomes. This study provides a comprehensive investigation of the association between MSDP and a single harmonized component of externalizing: aggressive behaviour, measured throughout childhood and adolescence.
Data came from four prospective twin cohorts – Twins Early Development Study, Netherlands Twin Register, Childhood and Adolescent Twin Study of Sweden, and FinnTwin12 study – who collaborate in the EU-ACTION consortium. Data from 30 708 unrelated individuals were analysed. Based on item level data, a harmonized measure of aggression was created at ages 9–10; 12; 14–15 and 16–18.
MSDP predicted aggression in childhood and adolescence. A meta-analysis across the four samples found the independent effect of MSDP to be 0.4% (r = 0.066), this remained consistent when analyses were performed separately by sex. All other perinatal factors combined explained 1.1% of the variance in aggression across all ages and samples (r = 0.112). Paternal smoking and aggressive parenting strategies did not account for the MSDP-aggression association, consistent with the hypothesis of a small direct link between MSDP and aggression.
Perinatal factors, including MSDP, account for a small portion of the variance in aggression in childhood and adolescence. Later experiences may play a greater role in shaping adolescents’ aggressive behaviour.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) usually begins during adolescence but little is known about the prevalence, etiology, and patterns of comorbidity in this age group. We investigated the prevalence of BDD symptoms in adolescents and young adults. We also report on the relative importance of genetic and environmental influences on BDD symptoms, and the risk for co-existing psychopathology.
Prevalence of BDD symptoms was determined by a validated cut-off on the Dysmorphic Concerns Questionnaire (DCQ) in three population-based twin cohorts at ages 15 (n = 6968), 18 (n = 3738), and 20–28 (n = 4671). Heritability analysis was performed using univariate model-fitting for the DCQ. The risk for co-existing psychopathology was expressed as odds ratios (OR).
The prevalence of clinically significant BDD symptoms was estimated to be between 1 and 2% in the different cohorts, with a significantly higher prevalence in females (1.3–3.3%) than in males (0.2–0.6%). The heritability of body dysmorphic concerns was estimated to be 49% (95% CI 38–54%) at age 15, 39% (95% CI 30–46) at age 18, and 37% (95% CI 29–42) at ages 20–28, with the remaining variance being due to non-shared environment. ORs for co-existing neuropsychiatric and alcohol-related problems ranged from 2.3 to 13.2.
Clinically significant BDD symptoms are relatively common in adolescence and young adulthood, particularly in females. The low occurrence of BDD symptoms in adolescent boys may indicate sex differences in age of onset and/or etiological mechanisms. BDD symptoms are moderately heritable in young people and associated with an increased risk for co-existing neuropsychiatric and alcohol-related problems.
Hundreds of penetrant risk loci have been identified across different neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), and these often involve rare (<1% frequency) copy number variations (CNVs), which can involve one or more genes. Monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs are long thought to share 100% of their genomic information. However, genetic differences in the form of postzygotic somatic variants have been reported recently both in typically developing (TD) and in clinically discordant MZ pairs. We sought to investigate the contribution of rare CNVs in 100 twin pairs enriched for NDD phenotypes with a particular focus on postzygotic CNVs in MZ pairs discordant for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using the Illumina Infinium PsychArray. In our sample, no postzygotic de novo CNVs were found in 55 MZ twin pairs, including the 13 pairs discordant for ASD. We did detect a higher rate of CNVs overlapping genes involved in disorders of the nervous system, such as a rare deletion affecting HNRNPU, in MZ pairs discordant and concordant for ASD in comparison with TD pairs (p = .02). Our results are in concordance with earlier findings that postzygotic de novo CNV events are typically rare in genomic DNA derived from saliva or blood, and suggests that the discordance of NDDs in our sample of twins is not explained by discordant CNVs. Still, studies investigating postzygotic variation in MZ discordant twins using DNA from different tissues and single cells and higher resolution genomics are needed in the future.
Genetic influences play a significant role in risk for psychiatric disorders, prompting numerous endeavors to further understand their underlying genetic architecture. In this paper, we summarize and review evidence from traditional twin studies and more recent genome-wide molecular genetic analyses regarding two important issues that have proven particularly informative for psychiatric genetic research. First, emerging results are beginning to suggest that genetic risk factors for some (but not all) clinically diagnosed psychiatric disorders or extreme manifestations of psychiatric traits in the population share genetic risks with quantitative variation in milder traits of the same disorder throughout the general population. Second, there is now evidence for substantial sharing of genetic risks across different psychiatric disorders. This extends to the level of characteristic traits throughout the population, with which some clinical disorders also share genetic risks. In this review, we summarize and evaluate the evidence for these two issues, for a range of psychiatric disorders. We then critically appraise putative interpretations regarding the potential meaning of genetic correlation across psychiatric phenotypes. We highlight several new methods and studies which are already using these insights into the genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders to gain additional understanding regarding the underlying biology of these disorders. We conclude by outlining opportunities for future research in this area.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.