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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Howard M. Kravitz, DO, MPH (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book comprises the proceedings of the 82nd annual meeting of the American Psychopathological Association. Papers on the relationship between genetics and mental disorders are divided into four sections: analysis of genetic data; linkage mapping and association; debate over genetic kraepelinian dichotomy; and mapping and association results in psychiatry.
Purpose: The purpose is to present the latest information on psychiatric genetics. In accomplishing these objectives, the book is presented at a level more appropriate for clinical researchers than for practicing clinicians, especially the first two sections.
Audience: Although suggested for psychiatrists and geneticists, this recommendation should be qualified as a book for research-oriented clinicians. The general psychiatric clinician may find most of the first two sections presumes a basic knowledge of quantitative and molecular genetics. The authors, experts in their fields, articulate well what is known as well as the limitations of the current state of psychiatric genetics. I would have liked a full chapter by Kendler.
Features: The text is well written and edited, with very readable print on good quality paper. Figures and tables complement the text, and references from 1993 are included (the meeting was in 1992). This is not the usual tedious postproceedings publication. The apparent updating of the text and references and the smooth flow and continuity with little redundancy are evidence of a unique effort to make this a valuable communication.
Assessment: This is an up-to-date book on the state of the knowledge and the controversies in psychiatric genetics. However, because the text is not written at a basic introductory level and requires familiarity with genetic concepts, it may not appeal to the clinically oriented general psychiatrist. Geneticists with an interest in psychiatry will find that the clinical and genetic epidemiology oriented chapters provide a nice substantive overview of the state of the field. Medical libraries should carry a copy, and it should be available in medical bookstores.