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Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
Background. Previous studies of personality characteristics in women with eating disorders primarily have focused on women who are acutely ill. This study compares personality characteristics among women who are ill with eating disorders, recovered from eating disorders, and those without eating or other Axis I disorder pathology.
Method. Female participants were assessed for personality characteristics using the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI): 122 with anorexia nervosa (AN; 77 ill, 45 recovered), 279 with bulimia nervosa (BN; 194 ill, 85 recovered), 267 with lifetime histories of both anorexia and bulimia nervosa (AN+BN; 194 ill, 73 recovered), 63 with eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS; 31 ill, 32 recovered), and 507 without eating or Axis I disorder pathology.
Results. Women ill with all types of eating disorders exhibited several TCI score differences from control women, particularly in the areas of novelty-seeking, harm avoidance, self-directedness, and cooperativeness. Interestingly, women recovered from eating disorders reported higher levels of harm avoidance and lower self-directedness and cooperativeness scores than did normal control women.
Conclusions. Women with eating disorders in both the ill and recovered state show higher levels of harm avoidance and lower self-directedness and cooperativeness scores than normal control women. Although findings suggest that disturbances may be trait-related and contribute to the disorders' pathogenesis, additional research with more representative community controls, rather than our pre-screened, normal controls, is needed to confirm these impressions.
Levels of vasopressin, somatostatin, neurotensin, vasoactive intestinal peptide, corticotrophin-releasing factor and adrenocorticotrophin in CSF were determined in lithium-treated and unmedicated euthymic bipolar patients and controls, in a search for a trait marker in affective disorder. No group differences in levels of these peptides were found. Highly significant positive correlations were found among these peptides (with the exception of neurotensin), suggesting that their presence in CSF is functionally significant, as opposed to the result of random diffusion from the interstitial space of the brain.
CSF and plasma GABA was measured in patients with bipolar affective illness and matched controls. There was no correlation between CSF and plasma GABA in 10 pairs of simultaneously obtained samples. Plasma GABA was significantly lower in a group of 10 euthymic medication-free bipolar patients compared to 41 normal volunteers (P <.02). This finding was replicated in a second study involving 6 patients and 10 normal volunteers. Twin studies showed a high correlation between members of 11 monozygotic twin pairs (P <.008). Diurnal variation was minimal, but bimonthly sampling over one year revealed somewhat higher values in the late summer compared to late winter.
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