Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Family Traits Provide Clues To Genes For Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder

Date:
June 8, 2008
Source:
NARSAD, The Mental Health Research Association
Summary:
It is important to identify the endophenotypes -- traits associated with a clinical disorder -- that can serve as a roadmap for detecting disease-related genes. That is why researchers are studying families to detect relatives who are carriers of the genes for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, even though these individuals don't have the diseases themselves.

It is important to identify the endophenotypes -- traits associated with a clinical disorder -- that can serve as a roadmap for detecting disease-related genes. That is why Deborah L. Levy, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Psychology Research Laboratory at McLean Hospital, is studying families to detect relatives who are carriers of the genes for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, even though these individuals don’t have the diseases themselves.

Related Articles


"One of the key issues in any genetic study is to distinguish individuals who are gene carriers from individuals who are not gene carriers," explained Dr. Levy. In single gene disorders, such as cystic fibrosis and Huntington's disease, 25 percent and 50 percent of family members, respectively, have the same illness. In contrast, only 6.5 percent of family members of people with schizophrenia actually have the illness, which means most relatives don’t have symptoms of the illness but may still be gene carriers.

To find the relatives who are likely carriers of genes for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Dr. Levy and her colleagues have zeroed in on four discernable schizophrenia-related traits that occur in well family members at a much higher rate than schizophrenia itself: difficulty following a slow moving target with one’s eyes, syntax errors or idiosyncratic use of language, subtle anomalies involving the midline of the face , and difficulty filtering out noises and other irrelevant stimuli (a condition known as sensory gating).

These traits, according to Dr. Levy, are much more common in families with schizophrenia. For example, idiosyncratic use of language (a trait similar to the thought disorder observed in schizophrenia) occurs in 37 percent of clinically unaffected first-degree relatives of individuals with schizophrenia, a rate that is almost six times higher than schizophrenia in the same families. When the rates for thought disorder and schizophrenia and related clinical conditions are combined, the proportion of potential gene-carrying relatives is close to 50 percent, consistent with a dominant gene, and much higher than the 6.5 percent rate of schizophrenia in the same families.

“With diseases like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, identifying the genes is just the starting point,” noted Dr. Levy. “The ultimate goal is to discover the biological processes these genes initiate in the brain, ultimately leading to better treatments in the future.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NARSAD, The Mental Health Research Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NARSAD, The Mental Health Research Association. "Family Traits Provide Clues To Genes For Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080604160118.htm>.
NARSAD, The Mental Health Research Association. (2008, June 8). Family Traits Provide Clues To Genes For Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080604160118.htm
NARSAD, The Mental Health Research Association. "Family Traits Provide Clues To Genes For Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080604160118.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins