5 Most Common Mental Illnesses Share Same Genetic Code

National Institutes of Health-funded researchers discovered that people with disorders traditionally thought to be distinct – autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia – were more likely to have suspect genetic variation at the same four chromosomal sites. These included risk versions of two genes that regulate the flow of calcium into cells.

“These results will help us move toward diagnostic classification informed by disease cause,” said Jordan Smoller, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, a coordinator of the study, which was supported by NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health. “Although statistically significant, each of these genetic associations individually can account for only a small amount of risk for mental illness, making them insufficient for predictive or diagnostic usefulness by themselves.”

References

Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. Identification of risk loci with shared effects on five major psychiatric disorders: a genome-wide analysis. The Lancet, February 28, 2013

See also Science Update: Five Major Mental Disorders Share Genetic Roots. Overlap Blurs Diagnostic Categories – NIH-funded Study.

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