Environmental, Clinical and Genetic Determinants of Outcome of Mental Disorders

By Mirella Ruggeri

The Unit has worked since the '80s with the aim of characterizing the outcome of the mental disorders. Many longitudinal studies both in prevalence and incidence samples have been carried on to identify predictive patterns of favourable and unfavourable outcomes in naturalistic settings, using a multidimensional approach to include objective and subjective variables, and taking into account the relative role of clinical, social, service variables and genetic factors on the course of illness. Currently, the Psychosis Incident Cohort Outcome Study (PICOS), a multicentric study involving 28 mental health services in the Veneto Region, is ongoing. The PICOS aims to test the relationship between clinical and genetic features of psychosis in an epidemiologically representative sample of first episode psychotic subjects. Recently, the Research Program GET UP (Genetics, Endophenotypes and Treatment: Understanding early Psychosis), with Professor Ruggeri as National Coordinator, has been funded by the Ministry of Health. It is constituted by four partner projects and it will shed light on several biological, psychological, and environmental issues that are presumably linked to psychosis onset. Moreover, the Unit is collaborating in the SGENE project, a large scale genome-wide association study of schizophrenia addressing variation in expressivity and contribution from environmental factors.