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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, DO, MA (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: The promise of genetic research in psychiatry is the understanding of how genes and the environment affect behavior through changing the human brain. This book presents a critical review of the evidence for genetic and environmental contributions to common psychiatric conditions emphasizing the genetic control of sensitivity to the environment as well as genetic control of exposure to the environment. This outstanding new book, edited and authored by internationally renowned individuals in this field, is a welcome addition to this rapidly emerging area.
Purpose: The purpose, according to the editors, is to present three major themes to the reader: gene-environment interaction, gene-environment correlation, and development. The editors want to emphasize "the old static views about genetic and environmental contributions to behavioral and psychiatric traits do not accurately depict reality;" "genes and the environment cannot be studied in isolation from one another;" and "the idea that genes are static and stable in their effect across the lifespan...is just plain wrong."
Audience: The intended audience is psychiatrists and geneticists and the book will be of interest to neurologists, psychologists, and neuroscientists.
Features: Part 1 is an overview of gene-environment interplay, specifically focusing on gene-environment interaction and correlation in the context of development. Part 2 reviews gene and environmental contributions to depression and anxiety, substance abuse, and stress and schizophrenia. Part 3 concludes the book with a brilliant chapter on the scientific, ethical, and policy implications of the research on gene-environment interactions. Each chapter ends with up-to-date and pertinent citations of the scientific literature.
Assessment: This book ought to be required reading for anyone interested in keeping up with the science attempting to understand how genes and the environment affect the brain and behavior.