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What can we learn from offspring studies in bipolar disorder?

  • Josephine Loftus, Bruno Etain and Jan Scott

Summary

We offer a contemporary review of studies of the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder and explore the clinical characteristics of these populations. We discuss how different methodological approaches may influence study findings and may explain some of the heterogeneity in the results reported. We also highlight some of the environmental risk factors that may increase the likelihood of transition from an ‘at-risk’ or high-risk state to bipolar disorder. Last, we briefly discuss the implications of study findings for early intervention strategies and comment on such issues as genetic counselling and primary and early secondary prevention programmes.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Josephine Loftus, Princess Grace Hospital, Avenue Pasteur, Monaco 98000 MC. Email: jbloftus97@gmail.com

Footnotes

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LEARNING OBJECTIVES

• Increased knowledge of the methodological variability and findings of studies of the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder

• Increased awareness about illness trajectories and the prevalence of non-mood disorders in the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder

• Understanding of the value of increased vigilance in this population and of any potential role for early intervention strategies

DECLARATION OF INTEREST

None

Footnotes

References

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What can we learn from offspring studies in bipolar disorder?

  • Josephine Loftus, Bruno Etain and Jan Scott
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