American researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center found a gene that could be responsible for bipolar disorder. They studied genetically modified mice with a disorder similar to human mania, to identify the cause for bipolar disorders and mania. The mice were put through a number of tests. They were given a dose of lithium, which is usually an effective treatment against bipolar disorders in humans and worked on the genetically modified mice as well. The mice became normal after they were injected with a Clock gene controlling the daily bodily functions. This suggests a biological explanation for the disorder, which could lead to better therapies.
According to separate study, certain gene mutations have a bigger role in autism than was suspected earlier. Researchers using modern technology tested the genetic mutations of 264 families and identified certain mutations that were seen in the children but not in the parents. The spontaneous mutations were found ten times more likely to occur in autistic patients than in unaffected people. The mutations were much lower in families that had more than one autistic member, which meant that both genetic mechanisms and inheritance lead to higher risks. They could link more than 100 genes, combined or individually, to various autism cases and concluded that the genetic defects are primary causes of the disorder.
Meanwhile, another study has associated schizophrenia with a gene involved in inflammation. US scientists examined the entire genome of 178 schizophrenic patients and 144 unaffected people, through a technique called whole genome association. They narrowed in on a gene variant that is responsible for bodily responses to infection and the brain’s reactions to injury. They analyzed another group of 71 schizophrenic patients and 31 unaffected people through gene sequencing technology and found several genetic irregularities only in the schizophrenic patients. Further studies could confirm these findings and possibly lead to new therapies against schizophrenia.
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