Genetics of Affective Psychoses — Some Methodological Considerations

  • Jules Angst


In the opinion of a number of experts, clinical-genetic research has come to a dead end. Further studies with traditional methods on adoptees, twins or entire families and kins are not likely to bring about any important new findings. The application of modified mathematical models has led to some controversial conclusions, and the mode of inheritance of affective disorders is still unknown, even if at present a polygenetic inheritance seems to be the most probable. Important genetic researchers have turned away from clinical research because of this critical balance, to look for a breakthrough in the molecular biological area. Another new trend, observed in recent years, consists in an ever increasing interest in the classification of psychiatric disorders. As validators for diagnostic criteria, data on genetics, course and response to treatment are used, in addition to biological variables. Within this context, clinical genetics will continue to be relevant. For this reason, I wish to focus my speech on associations between diagnostics and genetics, and will deal with three general problems from a genetic point of view: (1) Diagnostic concepts: homotypology, validation, (2) case definition: continuum from normal to pathological, and (3) sex differences in prevalence: artefact, or true?


Affective Disorder Diagnostic Concept Zurich Study Cycloid Psychosis Depression Depression 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jules Angst
    • 1
  1. 1.Head of Research DepartmentPsychiatric University HospitalZurichSwitzerland

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