Study reveals molecular networks of mental health disorders

(Medical Xpress)—Early diagnosis and intervention for ADHD, autism and schizophrenia could be made possible after Australian scientists discovered the molecular networks in the brain showing psychiatric and developmental disorders.

Scientists at The University of Queensland's (UQ) Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) said their discovery of the molecular networks of the disorders was a step up from existing behavioural testing used to diagnosis ADHD, autism, schizophrenia and X-linked intellectual disability - a mental retardation affecting men who have a single .

QBI's Associate Professor Charles Claudianos said the discovery would allow for a hypothetical ' model' that could be used to analyse the many and predict the association of genetic screening data with autism, ADHD and schizophrenia.

"For example, early diagnosis and clinical intervention will hopefully lead to better cognitive and psychosocial outcomes for an individual with autism, and associated benefits for family members and public health spending," Associate Professor Claudianos said.

He said many studies had identified candidate gene associations for these , but previous studies had been conducted in a piecemeal fashion with little regard to the molecular complexity or genetic links between disorders.

"We undertook a global and systematic approach to build and integrate all the available genetic data linked to autism, X-linked , ADHD and schizophrenia," he said.

"The discovery of a large gene network comprised of 4000 genes represents a significant advance in understanding the basis of mental health disorders.

"This gene network was successfully validated using cohort data from six recent disorder studies.

"Although our analysis show that the many genetic variations with the four disorders can affect the same and biological functions, including how nerve cells connect (synapses), there are patterns of variation that define significant differences between disorders."

Associate Professor Claudianos said this demonstrated that no two disorders were likely to be the same.

"Pinpointing the biological structure of an individual disorder will potentially allow for accurate application of therapeutic agents," he said.

The paper, "Molecular networks of mental health disorders," will be published in Molecular Psychiatry on Tuesday February 26, 2013.

Related Stories

Mental disorders in parents linked to autism in children

date May 05, 2008

Parents of children with autism were roughly twice as likely to have been hospitalized for a mental disorder, such as schizophrenia, than parents of other children, according to an analysis of Swedish birth and hospital records ...

Bees yield clues to unlocking brain disorders

date Jun 02, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Queensland Brain Institute researchers are a step closer to unlocking the mysteries of disorders like schizophrenia and autism – through peering into the brains of bees.

New ADHD findings

date Nov 14, 2011

A combination of rare and common genetic variations could play a part in biological pathways linked to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Recommended for you

Depression, suicide and the workplace - Q&A

date Mar 27, 2015

Expert opinions on the potential link between depression and the suspected mass murder-suicide of a Germanwings co-pilot who flew an Airbus into the French Alps Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board:

Study adds evidence on link between PTSD, heart disease

date Mar 26, 2015

In a study of more than 8,000 veterans living in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, those with posttraumatic stress disorder had a nearly 50 percent greater risk of developing heart failure over about a seven-year ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.