Psychiatric disorders linked by a common gene?

The largest ever genetic study of psychiatric illness, run by the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA, has discovered that autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia may be linked with a common genetic defect.

Although these five psychiatric disorders are considered separate conditions, they have some symptoms in common. For example, mood and thinking problems can occur with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. Also children with ADHD often have symptoms of other disorders, such as autism.

According to an article by The Independent journalist Jeremy Laurance, ‘Two genes which control the flow of calcium in the brain are implicated in several of the disorders and could provide a target for new treatments.’

Dr Jordan Smoller, one of the lead researchers said: ‘Our results provide new evidence that may inform a move away from descriptive syndromes in psychiatry and towards classification based on underlying causes’. The study was published in the journal The Lancet on February 28, 2013.

Here’s a link to another article on the same study appearing on the ‘My Health News Daily’ website,

Might this mean the next edition of DSM will be a more slender offering?!