Study Finds Common Genetic Thread in Five Psychiatric Diseases

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A new study published in The Lancet today has found a common genetic thread running through five well-known psychiatric diseases: autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia. It was an international research collaboration, studying the genomes of more than sixty thousand patients of European ancestry.

Scientists hope the findings will clear up how these diseases are classified, moving from describing symptoms to identifying underlying causes. And once other scientists dig into the data, there may be some progress made on treating these five diseases.

Dr. Jordan Smoller is one of the lead researchers on the study. He is the associate vice chair in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.