Neurology Central

Could psychiatric disorders share an underlying genetic basis?

In an international collaboration, scientists have determined that psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, may have important molecular similarities that are not reflected in current diagnostic categories.

The researchers explored the genetic connections between these and other disorders of the brain in a large-scale analysis. The team determined that psychiatric disorders share many genetic variants, whilst neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease appear more distinct.

“This work is starting to re-shape how we think about disorders of the brain,” explained Ben Neale (Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, MA, USA), co-senior author of the paper. “If we can uncover the genetic influences and patterns of overlap between different disorders, then we might be able to better understand the root causes of these conditions – and potentially identify specific mechanisms appropriate for tailored treatments.”

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