Five psychiatric disorders ‘linked’

Sunday 3rd March 2013

Psychiatric labels are often misleading, and of limited value in developing an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. It is therefore good news that the label Aspergers is soon to be binned. Even better news, reported by the BBC, is that genetic studies are now filling many of these knowledge holes, and carry great hope of revolutionising treatment.

Perhaps we are on the verge of the golden age of psychiatry (we’ve heard this before), and not before time. There is much ground to cover to catch up with other medical specialities. Read on, and your comments are welcome, as always.

Have a great week, Steve


‘Autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia all share several genetic risk factors, according to a major study. The findings were reported in the Lancet medical journal.

The international study compared the genetic codes of 33,000 people with a psychiatric disorder with 28,000 people without a psychiatric disorder.

Four genetic variants appeared to increase the risk of all five disorders studied. However, the rapidly advancing field of psychiatric genetics is trying to describe these disorders on the basis of what is causing them, rather simply by symptoms.

One of the researchers Nick Craddock, a professor of psychiatry at Cardiff University, said: “It signals the opening of a potential new era for psychiatry and mental illness.

“This is a scientific method that helps understand what is going wrong in the brain, the chemicals, the brains systems, that are important in illness.”

He said that ultimately it could help devise treatments and better ways of diagnosing patients.’