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01.12.2010 | Ausgabe 4/2010

Prevention Science 4/2010

Microtrial Methods for Translating Gene-environment Dynamics into Preventive Interventions

Zeitschrift:
Prevention Science > Ausgabe 4/2010
Autoren:
George W. Howe, Steven R. H. Beach, Gene H. Brody

Abstract

Genetically informed research on behavioral outcomes holds substantial promise for guiding efforts to enhance the efficacy and effectiveness of preventive interventions, but it also poses considerable challenges given the complexities of the dynamic interplay between genes and environment. This paper introduces a relatively uncommon research design, called microtrials, to provide a means of translating basic research findings into prevention trials, particularly through introducing genetic effects into prevention models. Microtrials are defined as randomized experiments testing the effects of relatively brief and focused environmental manipulations designed to suppress specific risk mechanisms or enhance specific protective mechanisms, but not to bring about full treatment or prevention effects in distal outcomes. Microtrial methods are described in detail, with discussion of their unique advantages for translating this knowledge base into prevention research. We end by raising several issues to consider when constructing genetically sensitive microtrials.

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