Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Similar genes involved in different mental disorders?
Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, major depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), may share several genetic glitches that can facilitate the brain on a path to mental illness. These diseases are thought to be caused by environmental or other genetic factors.
A psychiatric disorder that was based on an examination of genetic data of nearly 60,000 people showed that diagnoses should be based on genetic aberrations underlying disease rather than disease symptoms. Two of the aberrations that were discovered were genes involved in a major signaling system in the brain.
Another study found four DNA regions that conferred a small risk of psychiatric disorders. Two regions involve genes that are unknown in what they do. The other two regions involve genes that are part of calcium channels, which are used when neurons send signals in the brain. Researchers believe that drugs that block calcium channels may be useful in treating bipolar disorder. A small-scale experiment is being performed by Dr. Roy Perlis to see if this may be a viable treatment.
What causes mental disorders has always interested me. I had to take a psychology class at Stockton and we learned about these different mental disorders and had a guest speaker who had schizophrenia come in to talk to us. The class did not go in-depth like this article did so it was a great article to read and hopefully a step forward in the treatment of mental illness that many people struggle with everyday.