Which patient will feel down, which will be happy? The need to study the genetic disposition of emotional states
ABSTRACT In quality-of-life (QL) research, the genetic susceptibility of negative and positive emotions is frequently ignored, taken for granted, or treated as noise. The objectives are to describe: (1) the major findings of studies addressing the heritable and environmental causes of variation in negative and positive emotional states and (2) the major biological pathways of and genetic variants involved in these emotional states.
The heritability estimates for anxiety and depression are 30-40%. Related traits as neuroticism and loneliness are also highly heritable. The hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis is the 'final common pathway' for most depressive symptoms. The many findings of investigated genes are promising but not definitive. Heritability estimates of positive emotional states range between 40 and 50%. Life satisfaction and mental health share common genetic factors with optimism and self-esteem. The prefrontal cortex is a candidate brain area for positive emotional states. Biological and genetic research into positive emotional states is scarce.
Genetically informative studies may provide insights into a wide variety of complex questions that traditional QL studies cannot deliver. This insight in turn will help us to design more effective supportive programs that could moderate the outcomes of genetically based predispositions.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Ruut Veenhoven, Jul 02, 2015
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ABSTRACT: There is emerging evidence for a genetic basis of patient-reported quality-of-life (QOL) outcomes that can ultimately be incorporated into clinical research and practice. Objectives are (1) to provide arguments for the timeliness of investigating the genetic basis of QOL given the scientific advances in genetics and patient-reported QOL research; (2) to describe the clinical implications of such investigations; (3) to present a theoretical foundation for investigating the genetic underpinnings of QOL; and (4) to describe a series of papers resulting from the GENEQOL Consortium that was established to move this work forward. Discussion of scientific advances based on relevant literature. In genetics, technological advances allow for increases in speed and efficiency and decreases in costs in exploring the genetic underpinnings of disease processes, drug metabolism, treatment response, and survival. In patient-based research, advances yield empirically based and stringent approaches to measurement that are scientifically robust. Insights into the genetic basis of QOL will ultimately allow early identification of patients susceptible to QOL deficits and to target care. The Wilson and Cleary model for patient-reported outcomes was refined by incorporating the genetic underpinnings of QOL. This series of papers provides a path for QOL and genetics researchers to work together to move this field forward and to unravel the intricate interplay of the genetic underpinnings of patient-reported QOL outcomes. The ultimate result will be a greater understanding of the process relating disease, patient, and doctor that will have the potential to lead to improved survival, QOL, and health services delivery.Quality of Life Research 10/2010; 19(10):1395-403. DOI:10.1007/s11136-010-9759-5
- Addiction 12/2010; 105(12):2149-50. DOI:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03210.x
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ABSTRACT: Many cancer patients suffer from cancer-related fatigue (CRF) both during and after their treatment. CRF can arise at any point in the course of the disease and can be either self-limited or persistent, sometimes for years. It gives rise to a vicious circle of impaired physical performance, avoidance of exertion, inactivity, inadequate physical recovery, helplessness, and depressed mood. Its hallmarks are tiredness, exhaustion, and lack of energy; it can impair performance so severely that the patient is unable to work. It is associated with increased mortality. Cancer patients are hardly ever systematically asked about the symptoms and signs of CRF. The stress and impairments that it produces are often inadequately appreciated, and the opportunities for treatment often neglected. Selective review of the pertinent literature, including published guidelines from Germany and abroad. The pathogenesis of CRF is complex, involving an interaction of somatic, emotional, cognitive, and psychosocial factors, with a highly variable pattern of clinical expression. Clinical history-taking plays a key role in diagnostic assessment. Depressive disorders must be considered in the differential diagnosis. Many randomized trials and meta-analyses have documented the efficacy of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for CRF. Cancer-related fatigue is a serious problem that impairs patients physically, mentally, and socially. Physicians need to know how to recognize and treat it.Deutsches Ärzteblatt International 03/2012; 109(9):161-71; quiz 172. DOI:10.3238/arztebl.2012.0161