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Common genetic variant SNAP25 can be responsible for bipolar and schizophrenia, says study

Posted on 10-16-2017 Posted in Schizophrenia - 0 Comments

Looking at the grim figures showing high prevalence of mental health problems in the United States, it is hard to believe that the country has remained the world’s most developed nation for decades and still retains the position by a huge gap against its closest competitors. However, if the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) figures are any indication, it’s time the nation takes the problem rather seriously.

According to the NAMI, approximately one in five adults in the U.S., or 43.8 million (18.5 percent), experiences mental illness in a given year, while almost one in 25 adults, or 9.8 million (4 percent), suffers from a serious mental disorder in a given year that substantially interferes with his/her major life activities. Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are two of these serious illnesses crippling more Americans than other disorders. As per NAMI estimates, 2.6 percent of the American adults live with bipolar disorder, while 1.1 percent suffer from schizophrenia. Therefore, it compels researchers to look into the physiological causes that result in such high occurrence of these debilitating conditions.

A group of researchers, in their study titled “A multi-level functional study of a SNAP25 at-risk variant for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia,” found how a genetic variant linked to myriad mental disorders results in modifications in a brain network that may aggravate an individual’s risk of suffering from emotional problems. The authors of the study, published online in the Journal of Neuroscience in October 2017, made use of genetic analysis and neuroimaging in adult respondents afflicted with schizophrenia, early onset of bipolar disorder and those not suffering from the disorders. In addition, a postmortem examination of brain tissue obtained from the patients afflicted with schizophrenia was carried out to show that a variant of the gene involved in the neurotransmission process was related to both the disorders.

Genetic variant responsible for schizophrenia and bipolar

The researchers observed that the genetic alteration transforms the expression of the synaptosomal associated protein (SNAP25) protein in the brain that may affect information processing between portions of the brain involved in controlling emotions. They linked the variant with increased amygdala volume and changed prefrontal-limbic connectivity. The observations were reproduced in independent samples, thus reducing the possibility of false positives and raising level of confidence in their findings. The study affirmed a shared genetic component of these psychiatric health diseases and indicated a possibly new condition which may be found in patients with varying diagnoses in which this gene is implicated, for example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The findings of the study are important as functional characterization of variants associated with psychological problems is an important area of focus in greater understanding of neuropsychiatric problems. Understanding the crucial detail will pave the way for innovation and development of treatment options customized to suit the needs of various patients. The findings pointed at a common genetically driven functional alteration of a synaptic mechanism in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, while also validating the notion of shared genetic vulnerability between these two diseases.

Let our experts help you

Both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are marked by frequent mood changes, shifts in energy levels and frequent bouts of depression. These diseases can be treated by experts through appropriate medications and behavioral therapeutic interventions. Sovereign Health is a trusted name in treating these as well as other mental and addiction problems and dual diagnosis.

Sovereign Health of Florida puts together its expertise in treating such patients. Our facility is considered among the top schizophrenia residential treatment centers. Moreover, a personalized treatment approach is considered the best measure to treat patients enrolled for our bipolar disorder treatment in Florida. For more information on our bipolar disorder treatment centers or to locate our state-of-the-art facilities providing schizophrenia disorder treatment near you, call our 24/7 helpline number. You can also chat online with one of our representatives, who would be happy to assist you.

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