“Most common psychiatric disorders share genetic roots”

GETTY IMAGES/ Source: Time.com
Source: Time.com

This article by Maia Szalavitz, published in Time magazine’s Healthland section links “common psychiatric disorders” to their shared “genetic roots”.

Szalavitz describes the latest research:

Researchers analyzed genetic data from some 33,000 people of European descent who had either autism, schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder or attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  They were compared with nearly 28,000 unaffected controls. Scanning the entire genome, the scientists found variants in four different regions that affected risk for all or most of these conditions.

The lead author of the research is Dr. Jordan Smoller of Massachusetts General Hospital.   Szalavitz also reports reactions from several leaders in the field about this study, many of whom suggest that the research suggests seeking biological clues to the genetic roots of varying disorders.

Szalavitz quotes Dr. Brian King from the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital, who was not involved in the research.

“When we say with the DSM that this person has ADHD and autism [together],  at some level we’re saying those two entities are somehow distinct,” says King, “Instead, the truth may very well be, at least in some instances, that ADHD manifestations and autism manifestations are part of some overarching problem that’s neither one nor the other.” 

But, she reports, if you were tested and found to have one of the root “genetic variants”, you still have only a 10% chance of being diagnosed with any one of the particular psychiatric disorders.

Read the full article, click here.


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