DNA &MENTAL ILLNESS
Sky News reports that, "five of the most common psychiatric disorders are genetically linked." This news is based on a landmark study that examined the genetic sequences of more than 50,000 people. Some of these people had one of five common long-term conditions the researchers called 'psychiatric disorders.' These were:
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
This useful and well-conducted study provides an invaluable insight into the possible genetic factors linked to these common mental health disorders.
Researchers found variations in four genetic regions were associated with these disorders when they looked at the DNA of people who had been diagnosed with one of the mental or behavioural conditions.
Some of these genetic variations affect how calcium moves through the brain. These findings have given rise to speculation about the possibility of new treatments being developed for these conditions.
However, reports that genetic testing could be used to predict or diagnose mental illnesses are probably wide of the mark. The researchers have stated that the effects of the genetic variations are small, and that on their own the variations would not be useful for predicting or diagnosing these conditions.
It is also simplistic to regard mental health conditions or behavioural problems as being purely genetic. There is a wide range of rigorous evidence that shows that environmental factors are also involved.
Where did the story come from?
The study was carried out by researchers from the Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, and was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and a number of grants from other government agencies.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet. The study was widely covered in the global media, but the story broke slowly in the UK, first by BBC Radio 4's Today programme, then Sky News. Other UK outlets have since picked up the news. This story was based on a complex piece of research and was covered simply but accurately in the news.
What kind of research was this?
This was a genome-wide association study of five conditions: autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
These five conditions are generally classified as either starting in childhood (childhood onset – autism, ADHD) or in adulthood (adult onset – depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia). There are currently no medical tests for any of these conditions. Instead, they are diagnosed according to the occurrence and impact of distinct sets of symptoms.
It is uncertain what precisely causes any of these conditions. The consensus is that a combination of genetic, biological and environmental factors contributes to their development.
This research examines possible genetic factors and how they may be shared across these five disorders.
Reference NHS News
HMS Therapy is designed to help re-programme the unconscious DNA coding to help the client overcome the mental health condition without Drugs.
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