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By On March 8th, 2013

Scientists Find Genetic Links To Major Psychiatric Disorders

New research suggests that five of the major psychiatric disorders all share common genetic risk factors. Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston looked at genetic links to autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia, and they found that four genetic variants are associated with all five, specifically mutations in two genes that help govern the balance of calcium in brain cells, according to Independent.ie.

While it won’t make diagnosing common psychiatric disorders much easier, the findings may allow doctors to identify those who are at higher risk for psychiatric issues before they have manifested in the person. It could also help scientists find new treatments, according to the published information in The Lancet.

This study was the largest investigation of genetic connections to psychiatric illness, scanning the genetic code of more than 33,000 patients with mental disorders, as well as 27,888 healthy people. The researchers hope the findings will begin a path to understanding and diagnosing mental illness based on subjective symptoms and descriptive diagnostic methods to a more objective treatment and understanding of the physical causes underlying the conditions.

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