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Study Suggests Bipolar Disorder Has Genetic Links to Autism

Findings from a 2-pronged approach add to evidence of shared genetic susceptibility across major psychiatric disorders

A new study suggests there may be an overlap between rare genetic variations linked to bipolar disorder (BD) and those implicated in schizophrenia and autism.

The study, by researchers at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and published recently in JAMA Psychiatry, adds to the growing understanding that many psychiatric diseases share genetic roots, but is among the first to suggest a genetic overlap between bipolar disorder and autism.

Bipolar disorder is one of the most important psychiatric illnesses because it is fairly common -- affecting between 1 and 3 percent of the population -- and quite debilitating. Although many patients are helped by treatments, such as lithium, about one third of people affected by BD do not do well with current therapies. Although it's long been known that bipolar disorder is highly heritable, identifying specific genetic variants that contribute to the illness has proven difficult.

[...] "With studies like this we are finally, after decades of effort, making real progress in nailing down groups of genes and variations in them that play a role in causing bipolar disorder," Potash adds. "The mechanistic insights we gain from identifying associated genes we hope will point us in the direction of developing new treatments to make a difference for the many people affected by this illness.[...]

Read the full story>> http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uoih-ssb050416.php

► Technical paper "Exome Sequencing of Familial Bipolar Disorder" in JAMA Psychiatry>>
http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2517516

Image: The idea behind the case-control approach is simple: if a genetic variant is found more often in the group of individuals who have the disease compared to a control group of people without the condition, then the gene variation might be associated with increasing susceptibility to the disease. Very large datasets are key to the success of this approach.
Image source>>
https://arizonadailyindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/brain-trio.png

#Autism, #BipolarDisorder, #Genetics, #Schizophrenia, #Neurobiology, #Neuroscience, #Brain
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