Study: 5 disorders share gene-based risks


February 28, 2013 2:31:57 PM PST
Are autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia linked?

They may not look alike, but a huge genetic study now finds these five disorders share common gene-based risks.

Four genetic differences appeared to increase the risk of all five disorders. Two genes were involved in the balance of calcium in the brain.

Still, hundreds of genes and the environment are likely to affect the odds of developing such conditions. This won't help doctors figure out who is likely to develop one of these disorders, but are still helpful, doctors say.

"These may be clues to developing new treatments that so many patients with these major psychiatric disorders could often benefit from. So one of the things it tells us is number one the fact that we sometimes use the same treatments across these five disorders or at least several of them is not as illogical as some have said," Dr. Ed Cook, child psychiatrist, UIC, said.

UIC child psychiatrist and researcher Ed Cook helped contribute to this study, which is in the Lancet Medical Journal.