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Annotation

Gottesman II, Laursen TM, Bertelsen A, Mortensen PB. Severe mental disorders in offspring with 2 psychiatrically ill parents. Arch Gen Psychiatry . 2010 Mar ; 67(3):252-7. PubMed Abstract

Comments on Paper and Primary News
Comment by:  John McGrath, SRF Advisor
Submitted 4 March 2010 Posted 4 March 2010

This paper links one of the giants of psychiatric genetics (Irv Gottesman) with one of the giants of psychiatric epidemiology (Preben Mortensen). The paper contributes more fuel to the bonfire underneath the Kraepelinian dichotomy between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The new paper from Gottesman et al. presents the risk of various mental health outcomes (e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, any disorder) in the offspring of parents with one, two, or no affected parents with either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. As expected, the more affected parents with a particular disorder, the greater the chance that their offspring will develop the same condition. In addition, the offspring of two parents with different conditions (schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) had an increased risk compared to the offspring of well parents. Apart from the expected increased risk of schizophrenia in the offspring of two parents with schizophrenia, the risk of bipolar disorder was also four times higher than the value for the general population (4.8 percent, 95 percent confidence...  Read more


View all comments by John McGrath

Primary News: With Two Affected Parents, Schizophrenia Risk in Offspring Skyrockets

Comment by:  Peter Propping
Submitted 16 March 2010 Posted 16 March 2010

The study by Gottesman et al. is extremely important. Its value derives from the fact that the incidences come from a registry-based ascertainment of cases and from a country with national health insurance. Thus, the usual selective influences on ascertainment can largely be excluded. The empirical risk figures derived from this dual-mating study are much higher than in offspring where only one parent was affected by either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In the present study, however, the risk figures were somewhat lower than reported in some earlier studies (conducted in Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom), where the cases had been ascertained through clinical admissions (Kahn, 1923; Kallman, 1938; Schulz, 1940; Elsässer, 1952; Lewis, 1957; Gershon et al., 1982). The major explanation is likely to be the ascertainment bias in the earlier studies.

Interestingly, this study found somewhat higher risks for both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in the offspring...  Read more


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Primary News: With Two Affected Parents, Schizophrenia Risk in Offspring Skyrockets

Comment by:  Jehannine Austin
Submitted 19 March 2010 Posted 19 March 2010

The study recently published by Irving Gottesman and colleagues in the Archives has—as the authors point out—potentially important clinical implications. Using Denmark’s national registry data (>2.6 million individuals), the researchers calculated the cumulative incidences (to age 52) of psychiatric diagnoses in offspring of couples where one or both had previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The results clearly show that the probability of developing psychiatric illness is higher among offspring of individuals who have one parent with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder than among those who have no affected parents, and that the probability of developing psychiatric illness is highest among those who have both parents affected.

Probabilities that children will develop psychiatric disorders are of considerable interest amongst individuals with severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Further, American Psychiatric Association practice guidelines (American Psychiatric...  Read more


View all comments by Jehannine Austin
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