Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder: Gene Link?
Study Shows Family Connections for Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia
WebMD News Archive
'Time to Rethink Disorders'
"It is time that we rethink the way we view these disorders," study
co-author Christina Hultman, PhD, tells WebMD. "And it is clear that we
need more genetic studies to help us better understand this shared
In an editorial accompanying the study, Cardiff University dean of medicine
Michael Owen, MD, PhD, suggested that the earlier family studies were far too
small to show the genetic link between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
In an interview with WebMD, Owen called the latest research very strong,
with major implications for how patients are managed.
"When someone receives a diagnosis of schizophrenia it is easy for
clinicians to overlook mood disorder and other symptoms that don't fit with
that diagnosis," he says. "The same is true for psychotic symptoms that
may occur in people labeled with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder."
He adds that it is important for clinicians to recognize that symptoms can,
and often do, change over time.
"Most patients don't fit neatly into categories, and the more questions
you ask the more likely you are to find a combination of psychotic and mood
symptoms," he says.
John H. Krystal, MD, of Yale University Medical Center and the VA
Connecticut Healthcare System, agrees.
He tells WebMD that psychiatry has long struggled with "a gray zone"
of patients who do not neatly fit into the categories of bipolar disorder and
He adds that the new research could have major implications for the
development of new treatments for the psychiatric disorders.