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344 pages
10 CE Credits

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Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome

Nancy C. Andreasen
Oxford University Press, 2004

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES The reader will be able to:
• Describe the body of current knowledge on the relation of genetics to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and dementia
• Examine research on the mapping of the human genome
• Examine each illness and the relation of genetics to predisposition, initiation, progression, and treatment
• Describe at what age the gyrification of the human brain is completed
• Describe both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia
• Describe the newest 'treatment of choice' group of antidepressant medications and what they regulate
• Describe Alzheimer's disease and dementia
• Describe the concept of 'brain plasticity'
• Describe the neurotransmitter that plays an important role in mood disorders

Nancy C. Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D., is Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, the Editor-in-Chief of THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY and a member of the task force that developed DSM-III and DSM-IV. She has won the National Medal of Science and written ten other books and hundreds of articles.

Here, leading neuroscientist Nancy Andreasen offers a state-of-the-art look at what we know about the human brain and the human genome--and shows how these two vast branches of knowledge are coming together in a boldly ambitious effort to conquer mental illness. Andreasen gives us an engaging and readable description of how it all works---from billions of neurons, to the tiny thalamus, to the moral monitor in our prefrontal cortex. She shows the progress made in mapping the human genome, whose 30,000 to 40,000 genes are almost all active in the brain. We read gripping stories of the people who develop mental illness, the friends and relatives who share their suffering, the physicians who treat them, and the scientists who study them so that better treatments can be found. Four major disorders are covered--schizophrenia, manic depression, anxiety disorders, and dementia--revealing what causes them and how they affect the mind and brain. Finally, the book shows how the powerful tools of genetics and neuroscience will be combined during the next decades to build healthier brains and minds. By revealing how combining genome mapping with brain mapping can unlock the mysteries of mental illness, Andreasen offers a remarkably fresh perspective on these devastating disease

Editorial Reviews

Andreasen, a prolific author, editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry, and chair of psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, argues that by combining our knowledge of the human genome with that of the human brain we can effectively "wage war" on mental illness. She summarizes what we know about the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of schizophrenia, dementia, and various mood and anxiety disorders. Stressing that these illnesses are multifactorial (caused by both multiple genes and environmental factors), she predicts that the powerful new tools of molecular biology can be successfully applied to mental illness. Like Rita Carter in Mapping the Mind (LJ 2/15/99), which summarizes the current state of medical technology, Andreasen describes those tools along with the neuroimaging techniques that help us to view the functioning brain. Her text is unique in that it covers the fundamentals of neurobiology and at the same time touches on key issues in medical economics, treatment, and prevention. Hypothetical case studies illustrate the progression and impact of mental illness. Written with clarity and sensitivity, this study offers a refreshing, optimistic vision of the future. --Library Journal

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