5 Mental Illnesses That Share Genes

A study published by The Lancet highlights a connection between five mental illness disorders and DNA. The findings make it imperative than ever for people to undergo a mental health screening, especially if their DNA predisposes them for one of these conditions.

The Connection Between Mental Illness and DNA

Scientists in 19 countries formed the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. Their goal was to study autism, depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. They studied DNA from 33,000 people, each of which had a pertinent mental illness. The DNA of 28,000 people without a mental illness was similarly analyzed. This massive mental health screening uncovered some surprising results.

A Mental Health Screening that Uses DNA

Researchers analyzed the DNA from all participants. In the group of test subjects that had a mental illness, scientists discovered key differences at the genetic level. Namely, four regions of the genetic code had the same or highly similar variations when compared with the subjects in the “normal” group. These differences deal with the movement of calcium through brain cells. A variance in calcium flow, when coupled with environmental or other genetic factors, could result in the onset of a serious mental illness.

Improved Mental Health Screening

Doctors already knew that mental illness sometimes runs in families. It’s one of the reasons why a mental health screening is imperative for family members whose relatives have been diagnosed with a disorder. This new study does not make it possible for doctors to give people an early warning that they may be susceptible to a mental disorder. However, it does point to the possibility that five common mental illnesses that were thought to be unconnected may have a close genetic relationship. This may lead to better mental health screening practices or the ability to prevent the onset of mental illnesses.

To learn more about our DNA testing services, contact ARCpoint Labs of Independence today at (816) 379-3197.

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