In a new study, researchers have discovered the genes that contribute to the development of ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia.
The research was conducted by a team from The University of Queensland and Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.
Previous research has shown that a lot of psychiatric disorders were related to each other due to their hereditary nature.
For example, it is common that multiple family members with mental illness come from one family, but not necessarily with the same disorder.
In the study, the team analyzed more than 400,000 people to determine if specific sets of genes were involved in the development of multiple psychiatric disorders.
They found several sets of genes marked all the five psychiatric disorders.
The finding shows there is a common set of genes that increase people’s risk for all five disorders.
This is due to the biological pathways shared by the genes in the brain. The synapse plays a vital role as this is the connection point between brain cells where the cells communicate with each other.
The team also found that genes especially active in the brain are important, while genes active in other tissues do not play a role.
They suggest new drugs may target these shared pathways can treat multiple mental disorders.
The study is the first step towards the development of new drugs which may be effective for a wide range of patients, regardless of their exact diagnosis.
It may help scientists to develop more effective personalized medicine.
One author of the study is UQ psychiatrist Professor Christel Middeldorp.
This research is published in Psychological Medicine.
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