Schizophrenia and Manic-Depressive Disorder: The Biological Roots of Mental Illness as Revealed by the Landmark Study of Identical Twins

Schizophrenia and Manic-Depressive Disorder: The Biological Roots of Mental Illness as Revealed by the Landmark Study of Identical Twins

Schizophrenia and Manic-Depressive Disorder: The Biological Roots of Mental Illness as Revealed by the Landmark Study of Identical Twins

Schizophrenia and Manic-Depressive Disorder: The Biological Roots of Mental Illness as Revealed by the Landmark Study of Identical Twins

Synopsis

The author of the classic Surviving Schizophrenia and his colleagues present an important contribution to the ongoing debate on the origins of mental illness. Illustrations.

Excerpt

This book reports the findings of a 6-year study of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in 66 pairs of identical twins. The study was funded primarily by the National Institute of Mental Health and cost in total just over $1 million for the 6 years.

Although data from the study are still being analyzed, the vast majority of preliminary analyses have been completed. We therefore decided to publish the findings to date, since neuroscience research is moving so rapidly ahead in this decade of the brain. The largest data sets unanalyzed are the electroencephalographs (EEGs). Data analyses are also continuing on MRI, PET, and eye-tracking findings. In addition, genetic, immunological, and virological studies are continuing on the serum, lymphocytes, and cerebrospinal fluid collected from the twins. It is likely, in fact, that these analyses will continue for several more years because identical twins provide such a unique opportunity for understanding these diseases.

The twins are not identified by name in the book. Personal facts have been slightly altered in a few narratives to ensure anonymity.

It may be questioned whether the results of this study of identical twins with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are applicable to non- twins with these diseases. Most researchers have assumed that they are, and recently this fact was confirmed. Twins with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in the Maudsley twin register in London were compared with non-twins with the same diagnoses. No clinical differences . . .

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