Psychiatric epidemiology meets genetics: the public health consequences
The last decade has witnessed major breakthroughs in psychiatric genetic research. With ever increasing costs for genome-wide association studies and propelled by international collaborative efforts, tens of thousands of samples of patients and control individuals have been studied. Further sample collections and genotyping projects are underway. This development is paralleled by direct-to-consumer testing (sometimes aggressively) marketed to patients and doctors.
In the face of these developments, psychiatric epidemiology has to become actively engaged in the discussions and decision-making, in particular when it comes to precision medicine, predictive and prognostics approaches. The study of the genetic risk factors shared across disorders, of the gene-environment interface, and of early and late-life diversity and resilience will critically hinge on the availability of large and well-characterized epidemiological samples and cohorts.
The public health consequences and ethical implications of these developments are enormous and require utmost attention by the psychiatric community as a whole. The WPA Epidemiology and Public Health Section together with the WPA Genetics in Psychiatry Section will organize a joined meeting to discuss these and related issues.
Beside this main theme, the meeting will also concern any aspects of epidemiology and public health in mental health at each stage of life.