Study reveals molecular networks of mental health disorders

February 27, 2013

(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.

Explore further: Bees yield clues to unlocking brain disorders

Related Stories

Bees yield clues to unlocking brain disorders

June 2, 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

November 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

Repeating aloud to another person boosts recall

October 6, 2015

Repeating aloud boosts verbal memory, especially when you do it while addressing another person, says Professor Victor Boucher of the University of Montreal's Department of Linguistics and Translation. His findings are the ...

Men more likely to be seen as 'creative thinkers'

September 28, 2015

People tend to associate the ability to think creatively with stereotypical masculine qualities, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The findings ...


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.