Investigators at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have discovered a new genetic risk factor for schizophreniaand bipolar disorder called NDST3. The findings are published online in Nature Communications.
The study, by a team lead by Todd Lencz, PhD, associate investigator at the Zucker Hillside Hospital Department of Psychiatry Research and Feinstein Institute, studied more than 25,000 individuals. In collaboration with Ariel Darvasi, PhD, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr. Lencz has been working with a set of DNA samples from patients with schizophrenia and healthy volunteers drawn from the Ashkenazi Jewish population. The Ashkenazi Jewish population represents a unique population for study because of its short (less than 1,000-year) history and limited population. This history results in a more uniform genetic background in which to identify disease-related variants.
“This study again demonstrates the value of our Ashkenazi cohort,” said Dr. Lencz. “It is notable that the genetic variant was replicated in samples of various ethnicities from all around the world, but the effects were strongest in the Ashkenazi cohort, presumably due to their unique genetic history.”
Dr. Lencz’s team reported that the genetic variant, which changes a single “letter” of the DNA code, alters the expression of the gene NDST3. This gene is critical to neurodevelopmental processes such as axon formation and synaptic function. These findings shed new light on the genetic architecture and potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of psychiatric disease.
Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are severe psychiatric disorders that affect 1-4 percent of the global population. Studies have shown that the two disorders are likely to have a large overlap in genetic risk factors, but only a small portion of this genetic risk has been identified.
This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), funded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the economic stimulus plan). More recently, the work by Drs. Lencz and Darvasi with the Ashkenazi schizophrenia cohort has received an additional $3 million from the NIMH, as well as grants from the Brain & Behavior Foundation and the Binational Science Foundation.
Dr. Lencz is also the co-leader of The Ashkenazi Genomics Consortium, a collaborative effort involving more than a dozen investigators from leading institutions (including Columbia University, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and MIT), using similar strategies to understand the genetic basis of diseases including cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson’s.
The use of antidepressants in the treatment of bipolar disorder remains controversial. Some studies and treatment guidelines suggest that antidepressant treatment for bipolar disorder may have the potential to increase the manic switch, while others recommend short-term antidepressant treatment and early discontinuation. A recent study by Dr. Yingli Zhang and co-workers from Mental Health Institute of Central South University in China involved new large-sample double-blind randomized controlled trials, excluded open-label design studies, and supplemented studies involving homogeneous patients. Suicidality firstly served as an important outcome, strict inclusion criteria included limitation to double-blind randomized controlled studies and interventional treatment without use of antipsychotics to make the study results more objective and convincing. The results from this study do not support that antidepressants are more effective in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Antidepressants are not superior to placebo and other medication in short-term, and long-term use of antidepressants cannot achieve higher response and remission rates of bipolar disorder. These findings, published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 31, 2013), guide future clinical studies and provide evidence for preparing treatment strategy for bipolar disorder.
I was somewhat confused at this one and like the last just kept ignoring it.
But them I did hear a but about how the Police will need help, yup tying their shoelaces, from mental health staff.
Well as it has now been five years since they were cut loose from all support whatsoever and now gradually being wound up while staining the streets stealing from people and shops, attacking people and killing people then YEAH the Police need help.
Of course like everything else it will all be put back to how it should have been left in the first place. But first it has to be someone rich or famous that suffers at the hands of there incompetent stupidity before it does?!
Or someone that matters in other words.
Sad but true and someone stated to be that mentally challenged and unstable people can work?! I said oh…
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Quite a promise for a book I haven’t started yet. The praise for Sheila Walsh’s newest book goes on for three pages at the front, with names as big as Amy Grant and Joni Eareckson Tada applauding it. Even Kay Warren, who lost her son to suicide last year, says “Sheila understands.”
I’ve been given the privilege to be a part of the launch team for Shelia’s latest book: The Storm Inside: Trade the chaos of how you feel for the truth of who you are. Part of this privilege is the opportunity to read the book earlier than everyone else and let other people know what I think of it.
I’m a huge fan of Sheila Walsh, but even I wasn’t sure that she could achieve what the…
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