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New Study Revels Several Psychiatric Disorders Share Genetic Variants

Researchers from Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard revealed that Psychiatric disorders may possess molecular similarities.

Many psychiatric disorders are common within families. A collaborated study from researches highlighted the genetic connections between these and other disorders of the brain.

Ben Neale, an assistant professor in the Analytic and Translational Genetics and Aiden Corvin, professor at Trinity College Dublin with Verneri Anttila, a postdoctoral research fellow in Neale’s lab led the research along with 600 other researchers from institutions worldwide. The study focused on revealing the genetic influences and patterns of overlap between different psychiatric and neural disorders to better understand the root cause of these disorders. The data pooled from international consortia analyzed genetic patterns across different psychiatric and neurological diseases. However, each genetic variant is feebly responsible for developing a given disorder. As a result huge sample sizes were analyzed to acquire reliable signals from noisy data. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of 265,218 patients was conducted from the data. The link between brain disorders and various physical and cognitive measures from the patients was studied.  The array of data from GWAS identified common brain disorders that the team could study with sufficient sample sizes. The study was published in the journal Science on June 22, 2018.

The study stated that there was a widespread genetic overlap across different types of psychiatric disorders. These included similarities among attention deficit disorder (ADD), bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia. A strong correlation between anorexia nervosa and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) was observed. OCD and Tourette syndrome were linked similarly. However, neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis had no genetic variants in common. These similarities among psychological disorders suggest that current clinical methods do not precisely reflect the underlying biology of diseases.