Earlier today, we reported that NIMH-funded researchers at three different genetic research institutes from around the world collaborated and published three new studies yesterday in the journal, Nature, that suggested a true breakthrough in our understanding of …

11 Comments to
Breakthrough for Schizophrenia and Bipolar

Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. The comments below begin with the oldest comments first. Click on the last comments page to jump to the most recent comments.

  1. Watch how this gets spinned. Furious Seasons reported a few weeks ago there is a covert intent going on with DSM V to get Bipolar Disorder labeled as a subset of psychotic disorders, so, how conveniently it would provide a shield for pharma to say that atypical antipsychotics like Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Abilify, to name the biggest winners for such a change in determination, are legitimately prescribed for Bipolar. Poof! There goes the strength to arguments from plaintiffs suing with the premise these drugs are not being responsibly prescribed.

    Hmmm, if one was to dig a bit and look into the relationships between the authors of this work and pharma, there wouldn’t be some conflict of interest? It is NOT just about genetics, folks. Just another quick fix answer to problems that are nature and nuture.

    But, everyone wants a goddamn pill for their problems, eh?

    Happy July 4th. Maybe the fireworks are just starting this summer with this date.

  2. You’d have to indict the entire genetics industry, as these were three completely independent, different genetics research institutes located in three different countries. While I’m all for paranoia when it comes to understanding ulterior motives, I’d find it hard to believe the scope of this deception, including the journal Nature as well (one of the most respected scientific journals published). Not saying there might not be conflicts there, but it’s sort of sloppy to *imply* conflicts without bothering to actually do any research to see if your implication has merit.

  3. Interesting. Nicolas Wade at the New York Times has a completely opposite take on the same studies. He considers them to be a disappointment and a setback. Here’s a link:

    http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/01/hoopla-and-disappointment-in-schizophrenia-research/?ref=health

    If that doesn’t work, try this one: http://bit.ly/w8Swb

  4. Nicholas Wade makes an interesting argument in that blog entry (which is well worth the read, as well as the comments). But what he fails to appreciate are two points — he ignores the new finding that bipolar and schizophrenia appear to be linked at a genetic level, and doesn’t seem to understand all of the things the new research has ruled-out from a genetic perspective. But these two comments express a good summary:

    The truth is that ‘heritable’ does not equal ‘genetic’. It turns out that mothers and fathers behaviors influence: 1) the integrity of the DNA carried by their eggs and sperm, 2) their gene transcription for life (epigenetics), especially in utero and early life, and 3) the eventual behavior of their children, who often mimic parental choices. Even studies of identical twins have the strong influence of epigenetics due to a very similar intrauterine exposures… — CR

    Disproof (of a rudimentary Mendelian model for schizophrenia) scarcely represents a setback, and the hoopla does not reveal lack of frankness by the “masters” presumedly lurking in the shadows of the podium. The hoopla [...] is over eliminating a simplistic, but long held claim and clearing the path to more realistic models. Then we can test them too. That’s what science does, whether it’s the motion of the galaxies or the attachment of a virus, and that’s why these geneticists were legitimately excited. I only wish science writers could show equal interest in this real science, rather than labeling it a disappointment.

    CR overstates an otherwise useful point. Yes, we now see epigenetic mechanisms as significant to disease risk. But there is no evidence that only a “tiny fraction” of the listed is attributable to genes themselves. Indeed, the more genes that contribute to a clinical disease, the more variation they can produce in its signs and symptoms. — SMB

    I believe it is ultimately the expression of genes that leads to a greater risk of having the disease. It’s not enough just to have the gene variants.

    And the fact the three research institutes collaborated on this kind and scope of genetics study is also noteworthy.

  5. Vaughan has this excellent followup and description of gene heritability:

    http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2009/07/80_genetic_20_pol.html

    Also well worth the read.

  6. Pretty crazy. Makes you wonder who will be next Breakthrough for Schizophrenia and Bipolar.. nice blog John.

  7. Just to ilustrate it I am bipolar and my brother is schizophrenic…

  8. I have quite a dilemma. My first husband passed on in 1979 from Chromosome 17 related Disinhibition, Dementia, Parkinsonian, Amyoptrophy
    Complex. He was the first one diagnosed with such a disorder and it has proven to have 50% inheritance through three generations. I am now being told my 51 year old son is a paranoid schizophrenic. There were other family members diagnosed as schizophrenics but they all passed on with no follow up. My son has been put out of the DDPAC research on the basis of a new blood test and the Research Doctors have lost interest in him.
    What do we do in this instance?

  9. If not inconveniant for you: I just came across your report. I’m studying various aspects of behavoral science. Out of personal interest currently analyzing Dostoyevsky’s Underground man. His patterns of child-adult/adult-child behavoirs suggest he’s a victim of a narcissitic family.I was “just” thinking about how the cycle of many dysorders appear genetic, and came across your article. As this man in the story obsessively writes to a fictitious audience I immediately considered the possibility of the man being schizophrenic. Would you concur? (Again, this is not part of my homework (yet)-merely part of my passion and quest to understand Man.)

  10. I am bipolar and my brother suffers from schizophrenia. Coincidence? No, there is a genetic link.

  11. My Mother Committ suicide at the age of 38 I being the youngest of 4 children. My mom showed No signs of any mental illness. My brother showed NO signs of mental illness had his first psychotic episode at 18 diagnosed as bipolar and lithium helped. My mothers Younger sister showed NO signs of mental illness had her fist manic episode at 41 she Committ suicide at 43 diagnosed as bipolar from Mclean HospitaI. I had my first episode at 23 diagnosed as bipolar Never had any signs of mental illness. I was treated at McLean hospital. I am a fraternal twin sister to a gal who shows No signs of mental illness my Aunt that Committ suicide also has a twin fraternal sister with No signs of mental illness. I am now 42 only respond to lithium but depression is hell…mother of God how can this Devil of an illness Not be Genetic!?!? By the way I was brought up by my father and he’s mom I never had known my moms family until I was 18 due to a divorce resulting from her illness. My mom was voted most witty and best looking and could paint, sew, cook she was Superwomen….Her sister got best looking most likely to succeed was a tremendous artist painter. My brother got best looking most athletic most popular and high honors. I was voted most likely to succeed, most talkative, best looking I was deans list with a 4.0 in college my brother was a 4.0 in college at BC just after having a complete episode. I can tell you this IS genetic on my mothers side her mom and fad are from Ireland my moms mom showed moodiness and had a first cousin Committ suicide… They need a cure

Join the Conversation!

Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines.

Post a Comment:


(Required, will be published)

(Required, but will not be published)

(Optional)

Recent Comments
  • Will: These are some of the most random and loosely thrown together comments I’ve seen on this site. How does...
  • melancholy soul: I am severely depressed and I attempted suicide many years ago and I voluntarily went to the...
  • thisismoose: Let’s not forget “Oh, I get panic attacks too! I occasionally get stressed out!” or...
  • psycholog Poznań: As we read earlier there are a few neurotransmitters that may influence to depression symptoms, not...
  • psycholog Poznań: Well, This sounds good and gives hope.
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code