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A Companion to GenethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Cooperative SpeciesA Mind So RareA Natural History of RapeAcquiring GenomesAdapting MindsAgeing, Health and CareAlas, Poor DarwinAn Introduction to Evolutionary EthicsAncient Bodies, Modern LivesAnimal ArchitectsAping MankindAre We Hardwired?Bang!BehavingBeyond EvolutionBeyond GeneticsBlood MattersBody BazaarBoneBrain Evolution and CognitionBrain StormBrave New BrainBrave New WorldsChoosing ChildrenCloneCloningConceptual Issues in Evolutionary BiologyConsciousness EvolvingContemporary Debates in Philosophy of BiologyControlling Our DestiniesCooperation and Its EvolutionCreatures of AccidentDarwin Loves YouDarwin's Brave New WorldDarwin's Gift to Science and ReligionDarwin's UniverseDarwin's WormsDarwinian ConservatismDarwinian PsychiatryDarwinism and its DiscontentsDarwinism as ReligionDebating DesignDecoding DarknessDefenders of the TruthDo We Still Need Doctors?Doubting Darwin?Early WarningEngineering the Human GermlineEnhancing EvolutionEnoughEntwined LivesEthical Issues in Human CloningEthical Issues in the New GeneticsEvil GenesEvolutionEvolutionEvolution and Human BehaviorEvolution and Human BehaviorEvolution and Human Sexual BehaviorEvolution and LearningEvolution and ReligionEvolution and the Human MindEvolution in MindEvolution, Gender, and RapeEvolution: The Modern SynthesisEvolutionary Ethics and Contemporary BiologyEvolutionary Origins of MoralityEvolutionary PsychiatryEvolutionary PsychologyEvolutionary Psychology and ViolenceEvolutionary Psychology as Maladapted PsychologyExploding the Gene MythFaces of Huntington'sFlesh of My FleshFrom Chance to ChoiceFrom Darwin to HitlerGenesGenes in ConflictGenes on the CouchGenes, Environment, and PsychopathologyGenes, Environment, and PsychopathologyGenes, Women, EqualityGenetic Nature/CultureGenetic PoliticsGenetic ProspectsGenetic ProspectsGenetic SecretsGenetics of Criminal and Antisocial BehaviourGenetics of Mental DisordersGenetics of Original SinGenetics of Original SinGenomeGenomeGenome: Updated EditionGenomes and What to Make of ThemGlowing GenesHow Women Got Their Curves and Other Just-So StoriesHuman CloningHuman Evolution, Reproduction, and MoralityImproving Nature?In Our Own ImageIn Pursuit of the GeneIn the Name of GodIngenious GenesInheritanceInside the Human GenomeInside the O'BriensIntegrating Evolution and DevelopmentIntelligence, Race, and GeneticsIs Human Nature Obsolete?Language OriginsLess Than HumanLiberal EugenicsLiving with Our GenesMaking Genes, Making WavesMaking Sense of EvolutionMan As The PrayerMean GenesMenMood GenesMoral OriginsMothers and OthersNature Via NurtureNever Let Me GoNot By Genes AloneOf Flies, Mice, and MenOn the Origin of StoriesOrigin of MindOrigins of Human NatureOrigins of PsychopathologyOur Posthuman FuturePhilosophy of BiologyPlaying God?Playing God?Portraits of Huntington'sPrimates and PhilosophersPromiscuityPsychiatric Genetics and GenomicsPsychologyQuality of Life and Human DifferenceRe-creating MedicineRedesigning HumansResearch Advances in Genetics and GenomicsResponsible GeneticsResponsible GeneticsScience, Seeds and CyborgsSex and WarSociological Perspectives on the New GeneticsStrange BedfellowsStrange BehaviorSubjects of the WorldSubordination and DefeatThe Age of EmpathyThe Agile GeneThe Ape and the Sushi MasterThe Biotech CenturyThe Blank SlateThe Book of LifeThe Bridge to HumanityThe Case Against PerfectionThe Case for PerfectionThe Case of the Female OrgasmThe Century of the GeneThe Common ThreadThe Concept of the Gene in Development and EvolutionThe Debated MindThe Double-Edged HelixThe Epidemiology of SchizophreniaThe Ethics of Human CloningThe Evolution of CooperationThe Evolution of MindThe Evolution of MindThe Evolved ApprenticeThe Evolving WorldThe Fact of EvolutionThe Folly of FoolsThe Future of Human NatureThe God GeneThe Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Impact of the GeneThe Innate MindThe Innate MindThe Innate Mind: Volume 3The Limits and Lies of Human Genetic ResearchThe Lives of the BrainThe Maladapted MindThe Meme MachineThe Misunderstood GeneThe Moral, Social, and Commercial Imperatives of Genetic Testing and ScreeningThe Most Dangerous AnimalThe New Genetic MedicineThe Nurture AssumptionThe Origin and Evolution of CulturesThe Origins of FairnessThe Paradoxical PrimateThe Perfect BabyThe Robot's RebellionThe Shape of ThoughtThe Shattered SelfThe Stem Cell ControversyThe Story WithinThe Stuff of LifeThe Talking ApeThe Temperamental ThreadThe Terrible GiftThe Theory of OptionsThe Top 10 Myths About EvolutionThe Triple HelixThe Triumph of SociobiologyThe Woman Who Walked into the SeaTwinsUnderstanding CloningUnderstanding the GenomeUnnatural SelectionUnto OthersUp From DragonsWar Against the WeakWhat Genes Can't DoWhat It Means to Be 98 Percent ChimpanzeeWho Owns YouWhose View of Life?Why Evolution Is TrueWhy Think? WondergenesWrestling with Behavioral GeneticsYour Genetic Destiny

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Genetics of Mental DisordersReview - Genetics of Mental Disorders
A Guide for Students, Clinicians, and Researchers
by Stephen V. Faraone, Ming T. Tsuang, and Debby W. Tsuang
Guilford Press, 1999
Review by Shara L. Kronmal M.D. Ph.D.
Mar 31st 2000 (Volume 4, Issue 13)

Genetics of Mental Disorders: A Guide for Students, Clinicians, Researchers, is an up-to-date and interesting review of the (relatively) new field of Psychiatric Genetics. My first impression of the book upon seeing the title was that it would provide an update on the latest attempts to clone the genes responsible for psychiatric disorders. Works of this nature tend to be out-of-date before they hit the shelves. I was therefore both pleasantly surprised and conversely mildly disappointed to find that over all the book avoids such updates, and instead focuses on a more timeless theme, namely how do researchers in the field of psychiatric genetics think and what are the tools of their trade?

The book has certain major strengths and weaknesses. Strengths include that it is well written and generally readable. The authors are important researchers in the field. It is also the only book I am aware of that tackles this difficult topic at a level that can be understood by someone not actively working in the field. It puts in perspective the struggle to identify and clone genes that are involved in complex disorders such as mental illnesses. It also addresses why, as yet, we have not located genes for such disorders as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, alcoholism and ADHD (all of which have convincingly been demonstrated to be heritable, at least in part).

One of my complaints about the book is that it does not seem to know exactly who is its audience. The book flap describes it as "a touchstone for clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and other mental health professionals." It also suggests it would be a "resource" for students and researchers as well as a textbook. By trying to do all of the above, it tends not to be selective of any particular audience. For example, the "Molecular Genetics" chapter reviews the basic nature of DNA, something which one hopes is not needed by the researchers and psychiatrists. However, at other times, the material might be beyond the scope of some non-biologically trained mental health professionals. The book often reads like a textbook with, largely unnecessary, inset "Key Points" and often speaks to the reader directly.

For example on page 170 it reads, "If you were to find one case of Alzheimer disease in a family, you might . . .." It does not read well as a text for researchers in that its references are in my opinion woefully inadequate. For example, work done by Dr. Ed Cook was cited, but no references were presented to lead one to the actual published article. And, short of going back to the professional journals, I know little more than I did before about the actual progress in cloning the genes of interest to mental health professionals.

This book serves best as a form of self-education for those interested in psychiatric genetics who do not have the time or background to go to original articles. It might also assist a clinician in helping a client put into perspective any genetic counseling they might receive elsewhere. It is certainly not a book intended to train the clinician to provide genetic counseling to their clients. It is also too technical for most of the lay audience that might be attracted to knowing more about their personal or family risk of mental illness.

In short, read it if it interests you and you will learn something. Don't expect it to speak to you personally at all points and don't expect it to make a geneticist out of you.


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