New Research Identifies Outcomes And Future Trends Based On Past Behaviors, Experience

April 01, 1999

At the frontier of better diagnosis and newer treatments for mental illnesses, psychiatric researchers are successfully using knowledge from the past to determine patient outcomes and future trends. Four studies* in the April issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, show how new uses of long-term research and historical observation can refine diagnosis and treatment of specific disorders.

A University of Vienna study, "Relationship Between Childhood Behavioral Disturbance and Later Schizophrenia in the New York High-Risk Project," [Amminger, p. 525, #6828] describes how childhood characteristics were used to identify adult outcomes in families at high-risk of schizophrenia and affective disorders.

A University of Amsterdam study, "Association Between Memory Complaints and Incident Alzheimer's Disease in Elderly People With Normal Baseline Cognition," [Geerlings, p.531, #6829] documents the predictive value of memory complaints for later cognitive decline among unaffected elderly people.

A Yale Medical School study "Psychological and Behavioral Functioning in Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatients Who Report Histories of Childhood Abuse," [Grilo, p. 538, #6830] identifies a correlation between patients reporting childhood abuse and problems beyond initial diagnosis.

An Albert Einstein Medical School study, "Predictors of Treatment Response from a First Episode of Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorder," [Robinson, p. 544, #6831] reports findings that patients initially treated at the first episode of schizophrenia have predictably higher rates of positive treatment response.

However, researchers are advised to take care in using the past to predict the future. In a feature editorial, Leon Eisenberg, M.D. warns, "However valid, predictions based on patient findings in this century can only be projected to the next with caution " preventative and therapeutic measures now under development are likely to alter "illness course" in ways that cannot be anticipated."
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* Journal articles highlighted in this tipsheet are available in their entirety by calling APAfastFAX at 888-357-7924 and selecting the appropriate document number.

The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society, founded in 1844, whose 40,000 physician members specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illnesses and substance use disorders.



American Psychiatric Association

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