Brain at rest yields clues to origins of mental illness

April 30, 2014 by Bill Hathaway
Brain at rest yields clues to origins of mental illness
Default mode activation map for patients with schizophrenia and healthy comparison subjects.

While at rest, multiple regions of the brain remain engaged in a highly heritable, stable pattern of activity called the default mode network.

Researchers have found that this network is often disrupted in people with and bipolar disorder, which appear to share underlying genetic causes. This network is often abnormal in their unaffected close relatives, suggesting common genetic roots.

Now researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine and the Institute of Living in Hartford have devised a method to simultaneously identify many genes that play a role in disrupting this network.

"Previous studies have identified small numbers of different genes which each contribute in a small way to schizophrenia and but tell us little overall about the development of psychosis in an individual," said Godfrey Pearlson, professor of psychiatry and neurobiology and senior author of the study.

"Now we have begun to identify markers for these conditions that consist of hundreds of such acting simultaneously in recognized pathways that will eventually help in our designing novel ways to intervene in the disease process."

The study was published April 28 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Explore further: Common biology shared in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

More information: The complete study is available online: m.pnas.org/content/early/2014/ … /1313093111.full.pdf

Related Stories

Common biology shared in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

November 4, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Patients suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder share similar cognitive and brain abnormalities, three new multi-site studies show. The findings, published in the November issue of the American ...

Replicating risk genes in bipolar disorder

October 15, 2012
One of the biggest challenges in psychiatric genetics has been to replicate findings across large studies.

Researchers identify networks of neurons in the brain that are disrupted in psychiatric disease

May 23, 2013
Studying the networks of connections in the brains of people affected by schizophrenia, bipolar disease or depression has allowed Dr. Peter Williamson, from Western University, to gain a better understanding of the biological ...

Study finds gene network associated with alcohol dependence

November 21, 2013
There is good evidence from studies of families and twins that genetics plays an important role in the development of alcoholism. However, hundreds of genes likely are involved in this complex disorder, with each variant ...

Research sees overlap in genes altered in schizophrenia, autism, intellectual disability

April 29, 2014
A multinational team of scientists presents new evidence supporting the theory that in at least some cases of schizophrenia, autism and intellectual disability, malfunctions in some of the same genes are contributing to pathology.

Most powerful genetic study of psychosis to date

November 1, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Two genome wide studies involving more than 50,000 participants have identified new genetic risk factors for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The research was conducted by over 250 scientists from more ...

Recommended for you

'Residual echo' of ancient humans in scans may hold clues to mental disorders

July 26, 2017
Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have produced the first direct evidence that parts of our brains implicated in mental disorders may be shaped by a "residual echo" from our ancient past. The more ...

Cellular roots of anxiety identified

July 26, 2017
From students stressing over exams to workers facing possible layoffs, worrying about the future is a normal and universal experience. But when people's anticipation of bad things to come starts interfering with daily life, ...

Laser used to reawaken lost memories in mice with Alzheimer's disease

July 26, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers at Columbia University has found that applying a laser to the part of a mouse brain used for memory storage caused the mice to recall memories lost due to a mouse version of Alzheimer's ...

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Zebrafish study reveals clues to healing spinal cord injuries

July 25, 2017
Fresh insights into how zebrafish repair their nerve connections could hold clues to new therapies for people with spinal cord injuries.

Lutein may counter cognitive aging, study finds

July 25, 2017
Spinach and kale are favorites of those looking to stay physically fit, but they also could keep consumers cognitively fit, according to a new study from University of Illinois researchers.

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.