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Rates of Depressive Episodes, Psychological Distress Decline

(PSYCHIATRIC TIMES) - The highest rate of nonspecific serious psychological distress (SPD) (14.4%) among persons aged 18 and older in 2005 and 2006 was found in Utah, but overall, national SPD rates declined slightly. The rates of major depressive episodes (MDEs) among youths aged 12 to 17 years in Utah decreased significantly, from 10.1% in 2004 to 2005 to 8.2% from 2005 to 2006, according to a report released on March 6 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). MDE and SPD rates across all age groups were highest in the Midwest (7.8% and 11.8%, respectively) and lowest in the Northeast (7% and 10.8%, respectively). The study is based on data from 136,110 respondents collected for the 2005-2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

The researchers estimated MDE rates for the respondents on the basis of age. Nevada had the highest rate (9.4%) of persons aged 18 years and older who had an MDE in 2005 and 2006, and Hawaii had the lowest rate (5%). MDE rates among adults aged 18 to 25 years declined dramatically, from 11.2% in 2004 to 8.4% in 2006.

Hawaii had the lowest SPD rate (8.8%) among adults aged 18 and older in 2005 and 2006. Significant declines in SPD rates among adults aged 18 to 25 years between 2004 and 2006 occurred in 8 states, including Oklahoma (19.3%, down from 22.7%) and Washington (19.6%, down from 22.8%).
Genetic Mutations More Common in Persons With Schizophrenia

Rates of rare genetic deletions and duplications that likely disrupt brain development are higher in persons with schizophrenia than in persons who do not have the disorder. These genetic mutations occurred in 15% of persons with adult onset schizophrenia and in 20% of youths with child and adolescent onset schizophrenia compared with 5% of persons without schizophrenia. The findings of 2 independent teams led by Judith L. Rapoport, MD, chief of child psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health, and Jonathan Sebat, PhD, assistant professor, department of human genetics, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, were published online in Science Express on March 27.

The new findings in schizophrenia suggest that any mutation in the hundreds of genes involved in brain development could lead to a different set of neurodevelopmental consequences: schizophrenia, autism, mental retardation, or no illness at all. Any gene harboring one mutation likely contains others, and although each mutation may be individually rare, together such disease-causing variations in one gene could explain a substantial number of illness cases, the researchers explained.

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