Genetics of Psychiatric Disorders

Published by Luke Morais on

Genetics of Psychiatric Disorders 


What is mental health?

Mental (behavioral) health includes a person’s psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It shapes the way you think, feel, behave, and interact with others. Some disorders can cause hyperactivity while others cause excessive sleeping. Some cause hyper-focus on things around you while others involve seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. Your mental state also affects how you cope with stress. It’s a vital part of your life, from infancy through adulthood.

The following disorders will be included in this study:

  • Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Anorexia Nervosa 
  • Major Depressive Disorder  
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 
  • Tourette’s syndrome


How was the research done?

Psychiatric disorders affect almost 20% of adults. But researchers don’t know much about their genetic causes. That’s why the Psychiatric GWAS Consortium (PGC) was created, it’s a group of over 300 researchers from 65 institutions. They are working together to study the genetics of common psychiatric disorders.

Researchers want to help by studying DNA samples from BioVU for people with these disorders. They want to work with the PGC to improve our understanding of psychiatric disorders. They will use clinical notes, and medication information to see which patients do or don’t have these disorders. Then they will compare the genetics of those with the disorders with those that are around the same age and don’t have the conditions. Some genes are already known to play an important role in certain conditions. The study team will look at those genes and will look at many more markers that could be related.

By working with the PGC, they can increase the size of their study and create valuable datasets.


What is the importance of this study?

Psychological disorders are becoming more common, and researchers want to understand what causes them. It’s hard to diagnose these disorders because they have similar symptoms, and there are no reliable tests to identify them. This can lead to incorrect diagnoses and problems with treatment. It’s hard to study the genetics of these disorders because they involve rare genetic variations and small sample sizes. They aim to partner with the PGC by including BioVU information in the large study. By studying the genetic differences of these disorders, they hope to improve early diagnosis and patient care.