December 16, 2009 11:28:03 am
Scientists have discovered a gene linked to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,a major finding which they claim can help in identifying and treating the mental conditions early.
An international team,led by Queensland Institute of Medical Research and University of Edinburgh,has found that the gene ABCA13,active in hippocampus and cortex regions of the brain,is linked to the mental conditions.
“We did a genetic analysis on a patient with chronic schizophrenia and discovered he had a break in his DNA,right in the middle of the ABCA13 gene. The break meant that the gene wouldn’t work properly,so we hypothesised that this might be the reason for their illness.
“We tested this theory in another 3000 people,by examining this gene in schizophrenia,bipolar and depression patients and comparing it to people without these conditions,” Dr Allan McRae,who led the team,said.
The scientists found that the ABCA13 gene was linked to people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,’American Journal of Human Genetics’ journal reported.
“We found that the gene was involved in 4 per cent of individuals with bipolar and 2 per cent of people with schizophrenia. This is quite significant,since we think that these disorders are caused by hundreds or even thousands of genes,” he said.
According to the scientists,this research can lead to better diagnosis of mental illness risk and early intervention and treatment. The involvement of this particular gene also furthers our understanding of the mechanisms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder development.
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