Monday, May 12, 2008

Science News: Epic Genetics - the biology of mental illness

From Science News:

Genes’ chemical clothes may underlie the biology behind mental illness

In research circles the debate is settled. Psychiatric illnesses are disorders rooted in biology.

As convincing as the evidence is, mysteries still fog our understanding of mental illnesses. Yes, the disorders stem from problems in the brain, but “on the other hand, for time and ages people have been looking at brains under the microscope, and they don’t see much,” says Schahram Akbarian, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. No lesions, malformations, scars or other outward signs distinguish a mentally ill brain from a healthy one.

In recent years, researchers have searched the genome for mutations linked to mental illness. The scans have been fruitful, perhaps too fruitful. Hundreds of genes have been implicated in predisposing a person to such disorders as addiction, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression or anxiety. But no gene has been shown to be a master switch.

The debate has raged for decades over whether mental illnesses sprout from nature or nurture. Scientists now suspect both. A new field linking genes and environment may chart the way for solving some of the mysteries shrouding mental illness.

read more ...

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | cna certification