Advertisement

Syndicate

Physician Resources Home arrow Medical News arrow Genetic factors associated with common fears
Genetic factors associated with common fears
Written by NetDoc.com Medical News Feed   

CHICAGO—Genetic factors that are associated with fears appear to change as children and adolescents age, with some familial factors declining in importance over time while other genetic risk factors arise in adolescence and adulthood, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Discuss this article on the forums. (0 posts)

 

 

The nature of common fears changes during childhood and adolescent development, according to background information in the article. Two hypotheses have been proposed regarding genetic risk factors for these fears. "The 'developmentally stable' hypothesis predicts that a single set of genetic risk factors impacts the level of fears at age 8 years and these same genes constitute the only genetic influences on fear-proneness throughout development," the authors write. "By contrast, the 'developmentally dynamic' hypothesis predicts that genetic effects on fear-proneness will vary over time."

Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, and colleagues studied 2,490 twins born in Sweden between 1985 and 1986. The twins were assessed for their level of fear four times: at age 8 to 9 by a questionnaire mailed to parents, at ages 13 to 14 and 16 to 17 with questionnaires mailed to twins and parents and at age 19 to 20 with questionnaires only to the twins.

Fears naturally divided into three categories: situational fears (such as fear of closed spaces, flying or the dark), animal fears (including rats, dogs and snakes) and blood or injury fears (fears of dentists, injections and blood). Overall, genetic factors influenced all three types of fears, but did not remain stable over time. "We identified one set of genetic risk factors that act in childhood and have a steep decline in influence with age," the authors write. "Furthermore, we see evidence for new sets of genetic risk factors 'coming on line' in early adolescence, late adolescence and early adulthood."

As the twins aged, the effects of their shared environment on their fears diminished and the influence of their individual environment increased. "This is an expected pattern given that adolescence is a time of declining influence of the home environment as individuals spend less time with family and progressively make their own world, spending more time with friends," the authors write.

Further research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms by which genetics influences fears, they note—for example, if genes influence mental processes such as sensitivity to disgust or are more closely linked to changes in neurobiology, including alterations in the brain circuits through which fear is processed.
(Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65[4]:421-429.

Editor's Note: This study was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grants, the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research and the Swedish Research Council. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

For more information, contact JAMA/Archives media relations at 312/464-JAMA (5262) or e-mail mediarelations{at}jama-archives.org .

Discuss this article on the forums. (0 posts)

 
< Prev   Next >

Common Diseases

Swine Flu - Updates and information on H1N1 2009 (AKA Swine Influenza) pandemic.

Ankylosing spondylitis - Current protocols for diagnosis and treatment options.

Wegener granulomatosis - Autoimmune etiology and clinical course.

Diabetes - disease and management information, including diagnosis, typical treatment plans and diabetes supplies.

Advertisement

Medical Careers

The US medical jobs market has stayed hot for health care providers. Whether you believe that a provider shortage is in the offing or that the ratio of physicians-to-patients is too high, physician jobs and nursing jobs abound.

A wide variety of medical jobs can be found in the netdoc health care job listings. Particular strengths include permanent and locum tenens physician jobs, nursing jobs across the US, and radiology positions.

Other resources include physician salary information, medical career guidance, and the ability to post physician jobs.

Polls

When hiring your medical practice office manager, what was the most important consideration?
 
Copyright 2005 - 2019 Medical Resource Group, LLC. All rights reserved.