Irish scientists find genetic link to schizophrenia and bipolar

IRISH researchers have played a leading role in discovering a genetic link to a person’s risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

An international research consortium, including scientists from Trinity College Dublin (TCD), have found that many of the DNA variations identified contribute to both diseases.

The findings are significant advances in the understanding of the causes of these chronic and often debilitating disorders.

The Psychosis Research Group at TCD conducted two large studies involving more than 4,000 Irish people.

Science Foundation Ireland principal investigator and head of TCD’s Psychosis Research Group, Professor Aiden Corvin, said the findings provide potentially important new treatment targets.

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are common and often devastating brain disorders. Both affect around 1% of the world’s population and usually strike in late adolescence or early adulthood.

Family history, which reflects genetic inheritance, is a strong risk factor for both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

It has been generally assumed that dozen of genes, along with environmental factors, contribute to disease risk.

Despite the availability of treatment, these illnesses are usually chronic and response to treatment is often incomplete leading to prolonged disability and personal suffering.

Prof Corvin said parallel discoveries in neuroscience were making it increasingly possible to investigate the underlying biological causes of conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

“Knowing more about the biology is key, as the development of new treatments has stalled over several decades, and these finding provide potentially important new treatment targets,” he said.

The findings have been reported by the Psychiatric Genome-Wide Association Study Consortium and have been published online in the journal Nature Genetics.

Research on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder by the Psychosis Research Group is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Wellcome Trust and Health Research Board.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

More in this Section

Working hours crisis costs junior doctors

Pregnant women will not get vaccine from GPs

McGrath’s perfect 10 in Premier pushover

Beaches in breach


You might also like

Breaking Stories

Man escapes injury after petrol bomb thrown at his home

Argos recalls car seats over safety fears

Peter McVerry claims more than 600 people have become homeless during govt talks

The new penalty regime has meant fines for almost 600 cyclists

Lifestyle

Autism assistance dog is a real pal

A fresh approach to mental health

European design is flourishing in Aoife Hayes’ store in Newcastle West

Landscape gardener and designer, Olive Ryan, gives a masterclass on how to give your garden the ultimate makeover

More From The Irish Examiner