Thursday, April 14, 2016

Neurotic People are Now Neurotic About Having the Gene for Being Neurotic

As if they didn't have enough to worry about, there is now genetic research on the biochemistry of neurotic behavior. Molecular Psychology recently posted a study regarding the psychological long term tendency to excessively worry irrationally and remain in negative state because of the worry. It comes with compulsions. "They may perceive every day, run-of-the-mill situations as menacing and major; trivial frustrations are problematic and may lead to despair."

So how do genetics play into this?

10,000 individuals, making up one of the largest study of this nature, participated. They were questioned extensively and tested for the disorder or familial inheritance. Their DNA was sequenced and compared. Results found 9 loci attributed to neuroticism. One of the genes that they found present was CRHR1, thought to control the body's reaction to stress as it facilitates parts of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal pathway. This is involved in producing cortisol, a stress hormone as well. Increasing amounts of this in rats has led to intense anxiety responses.

Other genetic locations are pathways involving glutamate. This makes sense because glutamate deficiencies have been linked to other disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.

It would be interesting to see what other research surfaces from this in the mental health field. Additionally on an ethical scale, if we have the technology to visualize genes that will affect future children, will we one day remove genes for mental illnesses? Many creative geniuses have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. Should we edit genes out to remove the abnormal ones causing illnesses like neuroticism?

No comments:

Post a Comment