Study reveals molecular networks of mental health disorders

February 27, 2013, University of Queensland

(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: Researchers find alterations of a single gene associated with intellectual disability, epilepsy and autistic features

Related Stories

Researchers find alterations of a single gene associated with intellectual disability, epilepsy and autistic features

October 7, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine researchers, working with an international team of colleagues, have identified a gene that may play a role in causing a neurodevelopmental disorder that ...

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

Tracking the impact of early abuse and neglect

January 17, 2018
Children who experience abuse and neglect early in life are more likely to have problems in social relationships and underachieve academically as adults.

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.

Study: No evidence to support link between violent video games and behaviour

January 16, 2018
Researchers at the University of York have found no evidence to support the theory that video games make players more violent.

Can psychedelic drugs 'reconnect' depressed patients with their emotions?

January 15, 2018
Imperial research suggests psilocybin can help relieve the symptoms of depression, without the 'dulling' of emotions linked with antidepressants.

Study listens in on speech development in early childhood

January 15, 2018
If you've ever listened in on two toddlers at play, you might have wondered how much of their babbling might get lost in translation. A new study from the University of Toronto provides surprising insights into how much children ...

Study suggests people dislike you more for humblebragging than for regular boasting

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers from Harvard University and UNC-Chapel Hill has conducted a study regarding humblebragging—in which a person boasts about an achievement but tries to make it sound less boastful by minimizing it—and ...

0 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.