Genetic Links Found with All Major Mental Disorders

Genetic Links Found with All Major Mental Disorders

I have posted on this site an article dealing with anxiety and its relationship with genetics and how the environment affects the genetic code causing certain genes to turn on and thus creating a predisposition for anxiety. I have posted articles on the genetic link between depression, Schizophrenia, the discovery of a possible genetic link with suicide, and ADHD. Again I posted an article on the genetic grounding of OCD, and now certain studies seem to have found a genetic link with bipolar disorder. Here is an interesting article that will lead you to more posts on genetic links found with all major mental disorders.

Please bear in mind that these studies on genetic links found with all major mental disorders are preliminary

Most of these studies that have been conducted have used varying sample sizes, and done much to eliminate as much biases as possible; however, the findings are still preliminary until an experiment can be conducted that isolates these genes or neuro-connectors or whatever the case may be as the study has concluded and then subjected to a scrutiny that is acceptable to the scientific community. The hope that lies ahead of all these studies are the implications of knowing the exact causes of the diseases and then discovering a way to change or genetically engineer a way to fix the genes or damaged portion of the brain. Additionally through the course of these studies, the causes of how these genes mutate have been discovered so learning to avoid certain behaviors or consuming certain vitamins or toxins to the body while pregnant will lead to our ability to prevent and reduce the incidences of these illnesses.

Researchers at the University of Leeds investigating the genetic causes of bipolar disorder have identified two new drugs – one of which has already been found safe in clinical trials with laboratory mice – that may be effective in treating bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder, is thought to be a spectrum of disorders and, although its causes are not well understood, it seems to run in families and is thought to be caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Bipolar disorder is thought to effect 1% of the general population. 

Dr Steve Clapcote, at the University of Leeds, who led the study, says: “We suspected from published studies of bipolar patients that levels of enzymes known as NKA or sodium pumps may be abnormal in bipolar disorder, but so far the evidence has not been convincing enough to warrant detailed clinical investigations.”

The research on the genetic connection with bipolar disorder, published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), used a strain of genetically modified mice that exhibit symptoms very similar to humans in the manic phase of the disorder.

The mice were bred with a particular mutation that prevents the NKA enzyme from functioning normally. When tested, the mice showed characteristics closely associated with bipolar disorder, such as an increased tendency to take risks, hyperactivity, and disturbed sleep patterns. They also exhibited reduced mania when treated with anti-manic drugs.

Current drugs available to treat bipolar disorders, although usually successful, are limited to Lithium, Valproate and some antipsychotic medications . These can’t be matched to specific types of bipolar disorder, and can many times cause unpleasant side effects. There is therefore a need for treatments which can be better targeted, and which are more effective and better tolerated by patients.

The Leeds researchers found that the mice showed decreased activity of the NKA enzyme, as well as increased activity of a protein called ERK. Drugs known to have an effect on these two elements were administered to the mice, including Rostafuroxin, a drug used to treat high blood pressure and SL327. Both reduced their manic-like behavior.

The researchers now feel justified in screening people with bipolar disorder to look for genetic mutations in the same NKA enzyme as that affected in the mice, thus a genetic connection with bipolar disorder. The researchers believe that this will help identify if there is a group of individuals suffering from bipolar disorder that may be responsive to the treatments used in testing the mice. They also believe that further studies might reveal what biochemical changes occurred in the drug-treated mice to find out how the drugs work and side effects that occurred in the mice. This will help us determine whether they might be suitable for people. Understanding the mechanism of action or how a disease works on the brain chemistry is half the battle of coming up with an effective treatment that produces the greatest efficacy with the fewest side effects; especially establishing a genetic connection with bipolar disorder

This article on the Genetic Links Found with All Major Mental Disorders is not for diagnosing or treating any mental illness and is strictly preliminary research