Many diagnoses are the norm with mental illness, and new genetic research explains why

Summary: Research suggests a match between genetic architecture and mental health diagnosis. Researchers have found that 70% of the genetic signals associated with schizophrenia are associated with bipolar disorder. Anorexia and OCD have a strong, general genetic architecture.

A source: University of Colorado

More than half of people with a psychiatric illness have a second or third illness in their lifetime. About four-quarters or more.

This can complicate treatment and make patients feel unhappy and depressed.

However, a new analysis of 11 major psychiatric illnesses provides a new understanding of why additional illnesses are the norm, not the exception, when it comes to mental illness.

A study published in the journal this week Natural geneticssubprograms of disorders, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, even if there is no gene or set of genes that pose a threat to all of them; anorexia nervosa and obsessive-compulsive disorder; and major depression and anxiety – from the general genetic architecture.

Leading author Andrew Grotzinger, an associate professor of psychology and neurology, said: “Our findings suggest that high coherence in some disorders reflects recurrent patterns of genetic risk.”

This discovery will eventually open the door to treatment that will help address several psychiatric illnesses at once and change the way they are diagnosed, he said.

“If you had a cold, you wouldn’t want to be diagnosed with coughing, sneezing and joint pain,” Grotzinger said.

“This study is a step towards creating a diagnostic guide that better reflects what is happening biologically.”

How the study worked

For the study, Grotzinger and colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin, Vrije University in Amsterdam and other collaborating institutes analyzed data from the Public Genome Association (GWAS), which has distributed hundreds of thousands of people who submitted genetic material to a large data set. UK Biobank and the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium.

They examined genes associated with 11 diseases, including: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, anorexia nervosa, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, and alcohol abuse.

In addition, they reviewed the data collected through wear control devices and requested data to document physical and behavioral traits.

They then used new statistical genetic methods to identify common patterns of disease.

Related diagnoses

They found that 70% of the genetic signal associated with schizophrenia was also associated with bipolar disorder. This puzzle was surprising because, according to current diagnostic guidelines, clinics usually do not diagnose both.

They also found that anorexia nervosa and obsessive-compulsive disorder have a strong, general genetic architecture, and that people with genetic predisposition have less body type or lower BMI (body mass index) as well as genetic predisposition to these diseases. .

Not surprisingly, because the two diagnoses often go together, the study found a large genetic match between anxiety disorder and a major depressive disorder.

Analyzing the accelerometer data, the researchers found that they are more likely to share diseases that have accumulated together, as well as genes that affect how and when we move during the day.

For example, people with internal disorders such as anxiety and depression have a genetic architecture associated with less movement throughout the day.

Compulsive disorders (OCD, anorexia) are associated with genes associated with high activity throughout the day, while psychotic disorders (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) are genetically related to excessive movement in the morning.

Grotzinger noted that people with depression often appear tired or low in energy, while people with compulsive disorders can sit still. “It makes sense to think about it,” Grotzinger said.

In all, the study identified 152 genetic variants shared across several diseases, including those known to affect certain types of brain cells.

For example, gene variants that are involved in important signal pathways in the brain and affect GABAergic brain neurons form the basis of the shared genetic signal for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

what is next

Although much remains to be done to determine exactly what the identified genes do, Grotzinger sees the study as the first step in developing therapies that can solve multiple diseases with a single treatment.

However, a new analysis of 11 major psychiatric illnesses provides a new understanding of why additional illnesses are the norm, not the exception, when it comes to mental illness. Image in public domain

“Today, people prescribe multiple medications to treat multiple diagnoses, and in some cases, those medications can have side effects,” he said.

See also

It shows a diagram of two heads

“By identifying what is shared on these issues, we hope we can find ways to target them in four separate pills or four other ways that do not require separate psychotherapeutic interventions.”

At the same time, some find comfort in understanding the genetics behind their disorders.

“Not only do people face a lot of problems in life, they don’t face a few different problems, but it’s important to know a set of risk factors that will bleed for all of them.”

News about genetics and mental health research

Author: Press service
A source: University of Colorado
The connection: University of Colorado Press Service
Photo: Image in public domain

Original study: Open access.
Andrew D. Grotzinger et al. “Analysis of Biological Behavior, Functional Genomic, and Molecular Genetics at the Genetic Architecture of 11 Major Psychiatric Disorders.” Natural genetics


Genetic architecture of 11 major psychiatric disorders at the level of bio-behavioral, functional genomic and molecular genetic analysis

We request the joint genetic architecture of 11 major psychiatric disorders at the level of biological behavioral, functional genomic, and molecular genetic analysis.

We identify four broad factors (neurodevelopmental, compulsive, psychotic, and internal) that underlie the genetic correlation between diseases and examine whether they adequately explain their genetic correlation with bio-behavioral traits.

We introduce a model of stratified genomic structural equations, which we use to determine the set of genes that contribute disproportionately to the distribution of genetic risk. These include protein-cut variant-intolerant genes expressed in GABAergic brain cells that are enriched for genetic replication in disorders with psychotic features.

Multivariate association analyzes identify 152 (20 new) independent loci affecting individual factors and identify nine loci that act heterogeneously on factors within the factor.

Despite the average and high genetic correlations for all 11 disorders, we found the benefit of some measure of genetic risk for psychiatric disorders at the level of bio-behavioral correlation or at the level of individual options.

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