30 Sep Genetic Variants Linked To Schizophrenia Also Raise Risk of Other Mental Health Disorders
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Sophie Legge
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics
Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Psychotic experiences, such as hallucinations and delusions, are features of mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but they are also reported by approximately 5%-10% of the general population. Psychotic experiences are only considered to be symptoms of mental illness if there are other symptoms of that disorder. It is currently unclear what the genetic causes of psychotic experiences in the general population are, and whether these causes are related to the genetic causes of schizophrenia and other mental health disorders. Given that psychotic experiences are one of the key symptoms of schizophrenia, they may be more closely related than with other mental health conditions such as depression.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: In our study, we found that psychotic experiences in the general population had a small genetic component. Many of the genetic variants that made up this small genetic component were in common with genetic variants that are associated with several psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, but also major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder and ADHD.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: That the genetic variants that increase the risk of psychotic experiences in the general population are not only related to schizophrenia, but rather to a general risk for mental health disorders.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: The genetic causes of psychotic experiences in the general population are not solely related to schizophrenia and should therefore not be used as a proxy for psychotic disorders.
Taylor MJ, Martin J, Lu Y, et al. Association of Genetic Risk Factors for Psychiatric Disorders and Traits of These Disorders in a Swedish Population Twin Sample. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online December 19, 201876(3):280–289. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.3652
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