Autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may share common underlying factors

July 2, 2012, University of North Carolina Health Care

New research led by a medical geneticist at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine points to an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) among individuals whose parents or siblings have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

The findings were based on a case-control study using population registers in Sweden and Israel, and the degree to which these three disorders share a basis in causation "has important implications for clinicians, researchers and those affected by the disorders," according to a report of the research published online July 2, 2012 in the .

"The results were very consistent in large samples from several different countries and lead us to believe that autism and schizophrenia are more similar than we had thought," said Patrick F. Sullivan, MD, FRANZCP, professor in the department of genetics and director of psychiatric genomics at UNC.

Sullivan and colleagues found that the presence of schizophrenia in parents was associated with an almost three times increased risk for in groups from both Stockholm and all of Sweden.

Schizophrenia in a sibling also was associated with roughly two and a half times the risk for autism in the Swedish national group and a 12 times greater risk in a sample of Israeli military conscripts. The authors speculate that the latter finding from Israel resulted from individuals with earlier onset schizophrenia, "which has a higher sibling recurrence."

Bipolar disorder showed a similar pattern of association but of a lesser magnitude, study results indicate.

Our findings suggest that ASD, schizophrenia and share etiologic risk factors," the authors state. "We suggest that future research could usefully attempt to discern common to these disorders."

Explore further: Study compares traits of autism, schizophrenia

More information: Arch Gen Psychiatry. Published online July 2, 2012. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2012.730

Related Stories

Study compares traits of autism, schizophrenia

February 27, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A UT Dallas professor is studying the differences between the social impairments found in autism and schizophrenia to help develop better treatments for people with both disorders.

Recommended for you

Intensive behavior therapy no better than conventional support in treating teenagers with antisocial behavior

January 19, 2018
Research led by UCL has found that intensive and costly multisystemic therapy is no better than conventional therapy in treating teenagers with moderate to severe antisocial behaviour.

Babies' babbling betters brains, language

January 18, 2018
Babies are adept at getting what they need - including an education. New research shows that babies organize mothers' verbal responses, which promotes more effective language instruction, and infant babbling is the key.

College branding makes beer more salient to underage students

January 18, 2018
In recent years, major beer companies have tried to capitalize on the salience of students' university affiliations, unveiling marketing campaigns and products—such as "fan cans," store displays, and billboard ads—that ...

Inherited IQ can increase in early childhood

January 18, 2018
When it comes to intelligence, environment and education matter – more than we think.

Modulating molecules: Study shows oxytocin helps the brain to modulate social signals

January 17, 2018
Between sights, sounds, smells and other senses, the brain is flooded with stimuli on a moment-to-moment basis. How can it sort through the flood of information to decide what is important and what can be relegated to the ...

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Alexander Riccio
not rated yet Jul 02, 2012
FRED PREVIC!

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.