Monthly Archives: February 2013

New Study: Significant genetic overlap found for 5 different mental disorders: SZ, depression, autism, BP, ADHD

What comes to my mind after reading of this sort of genetic finding is that it lends support to the view of mental illness as a cluster of related but different disorders that play out over generations — the view I present in my book, A LETHAL INHERITANCE.

Here’s the key excerpt for me:

“This study, for the first time, shows that there are specific genetic variants that influence a range of childhood and adult-onset psychiatric disorders that we think of as clinically different,” said lead researcher Dr. Jordan Smoller, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“We also found that there was significant overlap in the genetic components of several disorders, especially schizophrenia with bipolar disorder and depression, and to a lesser extent autism with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,” he said.

Here’s the complete article discussing the study which, being on Lancet, is paywalled…meaning we’ll have to wait a year or longer to read without payment.

Here’s how the NYT covered the same study:

Same Genetic Basis Found in 5 Types of Mental Disorders

The psychiatric illnesses seem very different — schizophreniabipolar disorderautismmajor depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Yet they share several genetic glitches that can nudge the brain along a path to mental illness, researchers report. Which disease, if any, develops is thought to depend on other genetic or environmental factors.