Mental illness affects one in six U.S. adults, but scientists’ sense of the underlying biology of most psychiatric disorders remains nebulous. That’s frustrating for physicians treating the diseases, who must also make diagnoses based on symptoms that may only appear sporadically. For scientists, the mechanisms underlying this family of illnesses are still being unveiled, and reliable biological explanations for these disorders are still unclear, though it is known that biology and genetics play a role. Even, the lack of insight into the determinants of these disorders may relate to the difficulty in developing effective pharmacological treatments for them.

In relation to this, a meta-analysis has been published in Science, evaluating five major psychiatric – diseases, autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and alcoholism – in order to examine if they can identify any genetic abnormality related to them.

An early diagnosis could also allow implementing a psychiatric disorders prevention

The predisposition to neuropsychiatric disease involves a complex, polygenic, and pleiotropic genetic architecture that make them difficult to be early diagnosticated for a preventive treatment. No laboratory blood test or brain scan can yet distinguish whether someone has depression or bipolar disorder and little is known about how genetic variants suppose a brain dysfunction or pathology.

Hopeful results

Five major psychiatric disorders—autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and alcoholism— were studied compared with matched controls. It was identified patterns of shared and distinct gene-expression perturbations across these conditions.

In our opinion, it is a valuable line of searching to expand our knowledge of these genetic abnormalities that may aid better diagnosis and treatment of these illnesses.

Photo Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

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