Adoption Studies

This method separates the interacting roles of heredity and environment in the etiology of diseases by comparing the rates in the adoptive parents of a proband versus the rates in his or her biological parents. Mendlewicz reported higher rates of mood disorder in biological (28%) compared to adoptive parents (12%) among parents of adoptees with BP illness. The rate of the disorder in the proband's adoptive parents was similar to that of the adoptive parents of a normal offspring control group, whereas the rate of the disorder in biological parents of adoptees probands was similar to that of parents in a nonadopted bipolar group. Cadoret also found higher rates of UP depression in adopted offspring of biological parents with mood disorders compared to adoptees with biological parents without psychiatric conditions.

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