Genetic Faults Link Manic Depression, Schizophrenia

Research slowly unravels genetic causes of mental illnesses
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2009 7:41 AM CDT
Genetic Faults Link Manic Depression, Schizophrenia
Three wide-ranging studies have shed new light on the genetic causes of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Scientists have discovered genetic variations that link schizophrenia to manic depression for the first time, the Independent reports. Research made possible by technical advances found that thousands of tiny genetic faults raised the risk of both mental illnesses, which had previously been believed to be completely distinct conditions. Experts hope the findings will lead to new and more effective treatments for both disorders.

"Our findings are a real scientific breakthrough since they tell us a lot more about the nature of the genetic risk of schizophrenia than we knew as little as a year ago," said one researcher. He cautions, however, that a huge amount of research remains to be done before the full genetic causes of schizophrenia can be pinpointed and translated into treatments. (Read more bipolar disorder stories.)

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