Psychiatry Research
António Ferreira de Macedo, Ana Telma Pereira (FMUC, CNC)
Molecular Genetics Studies of Complex Disorders
Our team has over 20 years experience in population studies of schizophrenia (Sz) and Bipolar Disorder (BP) focusing on the identification of susceptibility genes for these disorders through the use of linkage and the more recent state-of-the art association analysis with genome wide association studies (GWAS) and whole genome and exome sequencing. For this purpose several populations have been analyzed: a relatively homogenous population from Azores, augmented by a similarly homogenous subsample from Madeira, and a mainland Portuguese population. To date we have collected over 3000 DNA samples, including 700 schizophrenic patients, 500 bipolar patients, and 1400 unaffected family members. Additionally, 350 unaffected (i.e. no history of psychiatric disorder) subjects of Azorean descent have been collected as a control group. The schizophrenic sample includes 100 multiplex (2 or more affected members) families, and the bipolar sample includes 120 multiplex families. This sample is being expanded by Dr Pato at The University of Southern California (USC-Center for Genomic Psychiatry), with a project integrating a US- wide network of academic medical centers that have created the Genomic Psychiatry Cohort (GPC). The aims of this project are to assemble a cohort of 10,000 patients with schizophrenia and 10,000 controls without schizophrenia or a family history of schizophrenia, from 8 sites and in the future, assemble a similar sample of bipolar patients. The cohort from the USA and Portugal has reached 30,000 individuals.
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Clinical research – phenotypic studies of complex disorders
In parallel with the genetic studies of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, we have developed a range of clinical investigations in areas in which a more clear understanding of the phenotypic definitions and boundaries were needed. These studies have focused in the area of personality, namely studying the perfectionism and the relationship between this trait and psychopathology. Our correlational studies have established an association between the maladaptive aspects of perfectionism and a broad range of psychopathological conditions and health problems (e.g. sleep problems). However, the cognitive mechanisms that mediate this association are not fully understood, and the main cognitive processes and cognitions underlying perfectionist behavior and its negative emotional consequences wait for further clarification. We are now developing a new project to investigate the role of multilevel cognitive processes in the relationship between psychological distress (PD) and perfectionism in a non-clinical sample of undergraduate students and a clinical sample of depressive and anxiety disorders.

Another important area of interest in which we have developed a line of research is the study of affective disorders in the perinatal period, a topic which have been relatively neglected.

Our team have also acquired an extensive expertise in the field of psychometrics and diagnostic methodologies, developing and adapting diagnostic tools, and several scales which have been validated to be used in the above mentioned studies.
Bento C, Pereira AT, Saraiva J, Marques M, Soares MJ, Bos S, Valente J, Azevedo MH, Macedo A .(2012). Children’s Eating Attitudes Test: Psychometric Characteristics in a Portuguese Adolescent Sample. Revista de Psiquiatria Clínica; 39(6): 189-93.

Maia BR, Macedo A, Pereira AT, Marques M, Bos S, Soares MJ, Valente J, Azevedo MH .(2012). The Role of Perfectionism in Perinatal Depressive Disorder (ICD-10/DSM-IV) and Symptomatology (BDI-II/PDSS). Archives of Women Mental Health. 2012 Oct 10. [Epub ahead of print]

Nadine Correia Santos, Patrício Costa, Dina Ruano, António Macedo, Maria João Soares, José Valente, Ana Telma Pereira, Maria Helena Azevedo, & Joana Almeida Palha .(2012). Revisiting Thyroid Hormones in Schizophrenia" Journal of Thyroid Research, Article ID 569147, 15 pages (doi:10.1155/2012/569147).

Pereira AT, Bos S, Marques M, Maia B, Soares M., Valente J, AP, Nogueira V, Azevedo MH, Macedo A.(2012). Short forms of the postpartum depression screening scale: as accurate as the original form. Archives of Women’s Mental Health. 16(1):67-77. DOI: 10.1007/s00737-012-0319-6.
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