Article

Gender aspects in schizophrenia: bridging the border between social and biological psychiatry

Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica. Supplementum 02/2000; DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-0447.2000.00011.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This paper tries to show that gender differences in mental diseases are a valuable paradigm for research into the interplay between biological and psychosocial factors--not only regarding pathogenetic mechanisms, but also concerning therapeutic approaches.
Based on relevant literature, this topic is highlighted using schizophrenia as an example.
Schizophrenic disorders show a later age of onset in women and a slightly better course, especially in young women. As to pathogenesis, there is some evidence that the age difference might be due at least partly to the female sex hormone oestradiol being a protective factor. Differences in course might also have to do with this biological factor, but at the same time with the psychosocial advantages of a higher age of onset and other psychosocial factors. Concerning therapy, these gender differences have important implications for pharmacotherapy, but also psychotherapy and social measures.
A gender-sensitive approach in psychiatry improves our understanding of mental illness and our therapeutic strategies and at the same time illustrates that comprehensive psychiatry cannot be practised in artificially separated 'drawers' called 'biological psychiatry', on one hand, and 'social psychiatry' on the other.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Anita Riecher-Rössler, Jun 29, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
73 Views
  • Source
    04/2012; 2012:694870. DOI:10.1155/2012/694870
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have begun to look at gender differences in schizophrenia and first-episode psychosis in an attempt to explain the heterogeneity of the illness. However, a number of uncertainties remain. This paper tries to summarize the most important findings in gender differences in schizophrenia and first-psychosis episodes. Several studies indicate that the incidence of schizophrenia is higher in men. Most of the studies found the age of onset to be earlier in men than in women. Findings on symptoms are less conclusive, with some authors suggesting that men suffer more negative symptoms while women have more affective symptoms. Premorbid functioning and social functioning seem to be better in females than males. However, cognitive functioning remains an issue, with lack of consensus on differences in neuropsychological profile between women and men. Substance abuse is more common in men than women with schizophrenia and first-episode psychosis. In terms of the disease course, women have better remission and lower relapse rates. Lastly, there is no evidence of specific gender differences in familial risk and obstetric complications. Overall, gender differences have been found in a number of variables, and further study in this area could help provide useful information with a view to improving our care of these patients.
    04/2012; 2012:916198. DOI:10.1155/2012/916198
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To examine the effect of gender on regional brain activity, we utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a motor task and three cognitive tasks; a word generation task, a spatial attention task, and a working memory task in healthy male (n = 23) and female (n = 10) volunteers. Functional data were examined for group differences both in the number of pixels activated, and the blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) magnitude during each task. Males had a significantly greater mean activation than females in the working memory task with a greater number of pixels being activated in the right superior parietal gyrus and right inferior occipital gyrus, and a greater BOLD magnitude occurring in the left inferior parietal lobe. However, despite these fMRI changes, there were no significant differences between males and females on cognitive performance of the task. In contrast, in the spatial attention task, men performed better at this task than women, but there were no significant functional differences between the two groups. In the word generation task, there were no external measures of performance, but in the functional measurements, males had a significantly greater mean activation than females, where males had a significantly greater BOLD signal magnitude in the left and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the right inferior parietal lobe, and the cingulate. In neither of the motor tasks (right or left hand) did males and females perform differently. Our fMRI findings during the motor tasks were a greater mean BOLD signal magnitude in males in the right hand motor task, compared to females where males had an increased BOLD signal magnitude in the right inferior parietal gyrus and in the left inferior frontal gyrus. In conclusion, these results demonstrate differential patterns of activation in males and females during a variety of cognitive tasks, even though performance in these tasks may not vary, and also that variability in performance may not be reflected in differences in brain activation. These results suggest that in functional imaging studies in clinical populations it may be sensible to examine each sex independently until this effect is more fully understood.
    NeuroImage 05/2006; 30(2):529-38. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.09.049 · 6.13 Impact Factor