Bipolar disorder and twin studies

Professor James Potash explains that twin studies dating back to the 1920s have identified bipolar disorder as a genetic disorder.

So there have been studies going back to the 1920s demonstrating that manic depressive insanity, as it was originally called, has a genetic basis. There were studies in the 1920s in Germany that showed that manic depression runs in families, and also showing that identical twins are more likely to share both having the illness than are fraternal twins. That suggests the genetic basis for the illness since identical twins share 100 percent of their DNA and fraternal twins only 50 percent. In the modern era there have been many more studies of that sort – family studies showing that bipolar disorder and depression run in families and twin studies showing that increased sharing or concordance as we call it in identical twins as compared to fraternal. There have also been a couple of adoption studies showing that the biological parents of adoptees with the mood disorder are more likely to have the illness than are the adoptive parents. So all of those sorts of studies have very firmly established that there is a genetic basis to these illnesses, now we are at the point of trying to figure out what exactly are the genetic variations.

bipolar disorder, manic depression, genetic basis, genes, twin study, studies, adoptees, 1920s, insanity, james potash

Related Content

2223. Bipolar disorder

An overview of bipolar disorder-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.

  • ID: 2223
  • Source: G2C

1989. The neuropathology of depression and bipolar disorder

Professor James Potash discusses studies that show reductions in hippocampal volume in people with depression and abnormalities in cingulate areas in patients with bipolar disorder.

  • ID: 1989
  • Source: G2C

1996. Bipolar disorder and creativity (2)

Professor James Potash discusses evidence from a number of studies that individuals with mood disorders are more likely to be highly creative.

  • ID: 1996
  • Source: G2C

1982. The diathesis-stress model and bipolar disorder

Professor James Potash describes how the diathesis-stress model can be used to understand interactions between genes and the environment. He refers specifically to bipolar disorder.

  • ID: 1982
  • Source: G2C

1994. Bipolar disorder: managing medications

Professor James Potash explains that, for many bipolar disorder patients, managing medications can be difficult.

  • ID: 1994
  • Source: G2C

885. Background to Bipolar Disorder

A review of the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatments of bipolar disorder.

  • ID: 885
  • Source: G2C

1048. Bipolar Disorder as a Genetic Disorder

Kay Jamison discusses how the idea of bipolar disorder as a genetic illness affected her life.

  • ID: 1048
  • Source: G2C

1976. Cyclicity in bipolar disorder

Professor James Potash explains that bipolar disorder is episodic: people get ill, then they get well again and then the illness may come back again at a later date.

  • ID: 1976
  • Source: G2C

1980. Endophenotypes for bipolar disorder

Professor James Potash describes how endophenotypes are used to study bipolar disorder. Endophenotypes are essentially subtypes of larger symptoms.

  • ID: 1980
  • Source: G2C

10662. "Chart of the C____ Family," insanity and manic depression pedigree

"Chart of the C____ Family," insanity and manic depression pedigree

  • ID: 10662
  • Source: EA