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Five Mental Disorders Share Several Genetic Links?
Five major mental disorders (autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder and attention deficit- hyperactivity are not very similar, but they share several genetic glitches that can push the brain in other direction- direction to a mental disorder. Environmental and genetic factors are very important in developing of these mental disorders. The biggest genetic research by now shows to a genetic connection. This fascinating discovery could be the key, and maybe it can reveal what causes these five major mental disorders. Also, significant process in diagnosis and treatment of these disorders could be achieved.

Autism, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and attention deficit- hyperactivity have been regarded as separate mental disorders. However, results of the published research suggest that these mental disorders have some genetic connection. One of the lead researchers, Dr. Jordan Smoller said that these disorder, we considered as quite different, maybe don’t have sharp boundaries between themselves. Dr. Bruce Cuthbert of the National Institute on Mental Health, which supported and funded this research, said that this theory has implications for us to understand how to diagnose mental disorders with exactly the same precision that the physical illnesses are diagnosed.

Problems with Mental Disorders Diagnostic Methods

Diagnosis of mental disorders if very complicated and it is not so precise as diagnosis of physical disorders. In every physical disorder or illness doctors have various tests sensitive for specific illness. For example, some diagnostic tests are simple examination test, which is simplest, to highly sensitive methods such as PET- scan, CT- scans, specific blood and urine tests and others diagnostic methods. On the other side, there are mental disorders and problem of their diagnosis. There are no blood tests for these disorders. Doctors rely on patients behavior and symptoms, and experts set the diagnose after their agreement. This is not objective diagnostic method, and maybe this research results will help doctors to diagnose disorders more precisely. Learning the genetic basics of mental disorders is part of good diagnostic in future, and separating for example the diagnosis of schizophrenia from some other diagnoses.

Dr. Bruce Cuthbert thinks that if scientists want to treat and diagnose peoples disorders properly, they have to find out what is really going wrong biologically. He also explained that this research is promising, but that we cannot forget that these are the early stages of understanding mental disorders.

Research Procedure and Results

Few years ago, scientists from 19 countries formed the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium and in few years this consortium has analyzed genomes of more than 61,000 people. They have analyzed genome- wide single- nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data from 33,332 people with major depression, bipolar disorder, autism, schizophrenia and attention deficit- hyperactivity and DNA from 27,888 people without any of these mental disorders. They examined cross- disorder effects of genome- wide significant loci, identified at bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Results of this research showed genetic variations at four chromosomal positions.
Interesting discovery of this research was that two of the four aberrations were in genes which are part of a major signaling system in human brain. Thus, this information gives clue to treatment of these five diseases. This study does not implicate that genetics of these disorders are simple. Scientists say that hundreds of genes seem to be involved. It means that this discovery of gene variations can confer just a uncertain risk of mental disorder.

In previous researches, scientist have seen similarities between these mental disorders. Case of identical twins confused researches. However, one twin had schizophrenia, but the other one had bipolar disorder. This was maybe the first clue which pointed to similarity to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Also, researchers had tested genomes of few families with high prevalence of mental disorders. Conclusion was the same. Two relatives with same chromosomal aberrations had different mental disorders. This conclusion is very interesting, and it can explain that two obviously different psychiatric diagnoses can have same genetic predisposition. Also, this conclusion shows clearly that examined families were not exception or maybe false positive result.

Connection Between Calcium Channels and Mental Disorders

Two of these four DNA regions have unknown influence on mental disorders development and they are located in chromosomes 3p21 and 10q24 regions. The main focus is on the other two DNA regions, L- type voltage gated calcium channel subunits, CACNB2 and CACNA1C. These two loci help in control of the transfer of calcium in and out of brain cells trough voltage channels. This calcium transfer provides a normal way of communication of the neural cells in brain. One of these two loci is possible risk gene for bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia.

According to this results, calcium channels could be an important process in these five psychiatric disorders. Also, calcium channels could be potential target for new psychiatric medicines. Thus, drugs that block calcium channels function, which are used in high pressure treatment, might be suitable for treatment of mental disorders as well. However, scientist warn people with these mental disorders that they should not rush with taking these drugs, because these are preliminary research results.

Interpretation of The Results

Research findings show that chromosome aberrations are associated with various mental disorders. Crucial finding is that genes responsible for regulation of calcium transport via L-type voltage gated calcium channel have clear connection with psychopathology of the mental disorders. Also, understanding these results could change the point of view in treatment of mental illness, and possibly could open the gates to effective therapies and even prevention of these severe disorders.
According to Steven McCarroll, director of genetics for the Stanley Center for Psychiatric, scientist have only discovered the tip of an iceberg, and it is very important that the scientist had found genetic variations that pointed to a specific brain signaling system.
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As the new survey has told that mental disorders have not some but major effect from genetics. Also before the birth of any child that days matter a lot for its coming life .....
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