The podcast reviewed here is the April edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry Podcast freely available here (you might need to use a program such as iTunes to access the podcast). The subjects covered in this edition include amongst other topics post-partum psychosis, a five factor model for personality disorder, the genetics of schizophrenia and autism. The post-partum psychosis discussion is focused around a tragic case-study and a markedly increased rate of post-partum psychosis with bipolar disorder is also noted. There is a report on a study investigating a five-factor model of personality disorder. A number of mental health professionals were asked to assess cases (from each of the 3 personality clusters) using the model (and comparative approaches) and were also asked to assess the utility of the approach. The rate of detecting cases using the five-factor model was 47% which was significantly lower than by using the DSM-IV criteria. This type of study is important because in the next edition of DSM consideration is being given to the use of a dimensional approach. This type of debate – categorical versus dimensional approaches is occuring across a range of diagnoses as completion of the next revision of DMS approaches. Linkages for schizophrenia were examined in another study which found a suggestive linkage on chromosome 17q21 as well as 15q. An association was also reported in a Canadian study between schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder and the Nitric Oxide Synthase 1 adaptor protein gene using single nucleotide polymorphisms. They used a statistical technique referred to as posterior probability in which the researchers take study data and use this to refine a ‘prior’ probability for a phenomenon. When they found significant relationships, they then examined the expression of the allele in post-mortems of people with schizophrenia. Having a study which traverses many domains of knowledge as well as using new statistical approaches is interesting as are the findings of an association with the NOS gene.
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