Autoimmune diseases and infections as risk factors for schizophrenia.
ABSTRACT Immunological hypotheses have become increasingly prominent when studying the etiology of schizophrenia. Autoimmune diseases, and especially the number of infections requiring hospitalization, have been identified as significant risk factors for schizophrenia in a dose-response relationship, which seem compatible with an immunological hypothesis for subgroups of patients with schizophrenia. Inflammation and infections may affect the brain through many different pathways that are not necessarily mutually exclusive and can possibly increase the risk of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals. However, the findings could also be an epiphenomenon and not causal, due to, for instance, common genetic vulnerability, which could be supported by the observations of an increased prevalence of autoimmune diseases and infections in parents of patients with schizophrenia. Nevertheless, autoimmune diseases and infections should be considered in the treatment of individuals with schizophrenia symptoms, and further research is needed of the immune system's possible contributing pathogenic factors in the etiology of schizophrenia.
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ABSTRACT: In this article, I outline a general framework for the evolutionary analysis of mental disorders based on the concepts of life history theory. I synthesize and extend a large body of work showing that individual differences in life history strategy set the stage for the development of psychopathology. My analysis centers on the novel distinction between fast spectrum and slow spectrum disorders. I describe four main causal pathways from life history strategies to psychopathology, argue that psychopathology can arise at both ends of the fast–slow continuum of life history variation, and provide heuristic criteria for classifying disorders as fast or slow spectrum pathologies. I then apply the fast–slow distinction to a diverse sample of common mental disorders: externalizing disorders, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, eating disorders, and depression. The framework integrates previously disconnected models of psychopathology within a common frame of reference and has far-reaching implications for the classification of mental disorders.Psychological Inquiry 08/2014; 25(3-4):261. DOI:10.1080/1047840X.2014.884918 · 4.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cytokines and vitamin D both have a role in modulating the immune system, and are also potentially useful biomarkers in mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder (MDD) and schizophrenia. Studying the variability of cytokines and vitamin D in a healthy population sample may add to understanding the association between these biomarkers and mental illness. To assess genetic and environmental contributions to variation in circulating levels of cytokines and vitamin D (25-hydroxy vitamin D: 25(OH)D3), we analyzed data from a healthy adolescent twin cohort (mean age 16.2 years; standard deviation 0.25). Plasma cytokine measures were available for 400 individuals (85 MZ, 115 DZ pairs), dried blood spot sample vitamin D measures were available for 378 individuals (70 MZ, 118 DZ pairs). Heritability estimates were moderate but significant for the cytokines transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), 0.57 (95% CI 0.26-0.80) and tumor necrosis factor-receptor type 1 (TNFR1), 0.50 (95% CI 0.11-0.63) respectively. Measures of 25(OH)D3 were within normal range and heritability was estimated to be high (0.86, 95% CI 0.61-0.94). Assays of other cytokines did not generate meaningful results. These potential biomarkers may be useful in mental illness, with further research warranted in larger sample sizes. They may be particularly important in adolescents with mental illness where diagnostic uncertainty poses a significant clinical challenge.Twin Research and Human Genetics 12/2014; 18(01):1-8. DOI:10.1017/thg.2014.70 · 1.92 Impact Factor
American Journal of Psychiatry 03/2015; 172(3):219-21. DOI:10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.14040550 · 13.56 Impact Factor