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Transl Psychiatry. 2017 Jun 13;7(6):e1151. doi: 10.1038/tp.2017.106.

Genetic tests in major psychiatric disorders-integrating molecular medicine with clinical psychiatry-why is it so difficult?

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Department of Laboratory Diagnostics and Clinical Immunology of Developmental Age, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.
Department of Child Psychiatry, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.


With the advent of post-genomic era, new technologies create extraordinary possibilities for diagnostics and personalized therapy, transforming todays' medicine. Rooted in both medical genetics and clinical psychiatry, the paper is designed as an integrated source of information of the current and potential future application of emerging genomic technologies as diagnostic tools in psychiatry, moving beyond the classical concept of patient approach. Selected approaches are presented, starting from currently used technologies (next-generation sequencing (NGS) and microarrays), followed by newer options (reverse phenotyping). Next, we describe an old concept in a new light (endophenotypes), subsequently coming up with a sophisticated and complex approach (gene networks) ending by a nascent field (computational psychiatry). The challenges and barriers that exist to translate genomic research to real-world patient assessment are further discussed. We emphasize the view that only a paradigm shift can bring a fundamental change in psychiatric practice, allowing to disentangle the intricacies of mental diseases. All the diagnostic methods, as described, are directed at uncovering the integrity of the system including many types of relations within a complex structure. The integrative system approach offers new opportunity to connect genetic background with specific diseases entities, or concurrently, with symptoms regardless of a diagnosis. To advance the field, we propose concerted cross-disciplinary effort to provide a diagnostic platform operating at the general level of genetic pathogenesis of complex-trait psychiatric disorders rather than at the individual level of a specific disease.

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