Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has just concluded a fascinating study that could revolutionize how doctors look at autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia. In their study, they have found that these five disorders share a common genetic root.
As study leader Dr. Jordan Smoller told NBC News, “We have been able to discover specific genetic variants that seem to overlap among disorders that we think of as very clinically different.”
They found markers that were more common in people with one of these disorders than with others. They also found mutations in two genes that help to govern the balance of calcium in the brain cells.
Scientists came to their conclusions after looking at the genetic code of more than 33,000 patients with mental disorders and 27,888 patients without these issues. It was actually the most comprehensive study on genetic links to psychiatric illness that was ever conducted.
Dr Smoller explained some of the ramifications of the study. As he said, “Significant progress has been made in understanding the genetic risk factors underlying psychiatric disorders. Our results provide new evidence that may inform a move beyond descriptive syndromes in psychiatry and towards classification based on underlying causes.”