Brain scanning reveals genetic mutations associated with mental disorders

Brain scanning reveals genetic mutations associated with mental disorders

The cause of certain brain disorders is still a subject of study for researchers trying to understand potential psychiatric disorders. The changes in structure and chemistry of the brain apart from the way it functions due to genetic variations due to severe psychological disorders can now be understood using brain scans of the victims.

In a recent study, titled “Balanced translocation linked to psychiatric disorder, glutamate, and cortical structure/function,” the scientists explained as to how genetic mutations can aggravate potential of suffering from mental disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depressive behavior.

For the study, published online in the journal Schizophrenia in August 2016, the scientists from the University of Edinburgh examined the brains of people with a specific gene mutation that results in part of a chromosome to substitute its place with another.

Genetic effects may increase risk of major mental illnesses

The researchers observed that the gene alteration causes unsettling of a gene called DISC1 linked to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and repeated cycles of major depression. It was also found that those with genetic mutations showed changes in their brain structuring.

These changes were associated with the acuteness with which signs of mental illness were manifested. The carriers of these brain transformations contained decreased levels of a chemical called glutamate in certain portions of the brain which has been strongly associated with schizophrenia in previous studies.

The observations of the study indicated a major risk of psychological disorders due to DISC1 mutation. Elucidating the findings, one of the co-authors of the study Professor Stephen M Lawrie, head of psychiatry at the University of Edinburg, said, “This study confirms and extends the genetics of DISC1, and shows how that and similar genetic effects can increase the risk of major mental illnesses.”

The findings involving brain scans of patients aggrieved with certain sets of mental illnesses are pursuant to a study of the DISC1 mutation first identified in a Scottish family afflicted with significant cases of psychiatric disorders.

Findings can help in ongoing treatment studies

The scientists hoped that the findings resulting from brain scanning of the Scottish family members, that revealed genetic mutations, will go a long way in unraveling the biological mechanisms forming the basis of serious mental health problems. The significance of the findings lies in the fact that ongoing studies on treatment can make use of the information obtained about the influence of certain genetic mutations on conditions of mental health.

Scope for recovery

The fact that millions of Americans are suffering from some kind of mental illness and are actively seeking treatment raises the need to find effective interventions directed towards their complete recovery.

Discussions concerning mental illnesses have always been under the garb due to attached stigma. This results in many mentally distraught people feeling shy to ask for help or opt for diagnosis by mental health experts. Mental disorders have recently gained the necessary recognition at the national level with leaders and those at the federal level encouraging people to come forward and share their problems concerning their mental health.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), only 58.7 percent of those aggrieved due to serious mental disorders get the necessary treatment they need. If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental illness, including stress, depression, or anxiety, contact Sovereign Health to know about depression treatment centers in California  and bipolar disorder treatment in Los Angeles. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online for information about our mental health facilities in Los Angeles or anxiety disorders treatment centers in California.


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