Psycho-Babble Medication Thread 579962

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Mental illness genetic risk found - Good news? :)

Posted by Nickengland on November 18, 2005, at 7:43:10

Mental illness genetic risk found

The researchers discovered more about how the brain works
Researchers have uncovered more information about how genetics can determine the risk of schizophrenia and manic depression.
Glasgow and Edinburgh University experts found damage to a gene involved in how the brain thinks increases risk.

The team, writing in the magazine Science, say the finding could lead to the development of new drugs.

But the researchers stress environmental factors also influence the odds of developing mental illness.

Five years ago, the Scottish team identified a key faulty gene called DISC1, which acts as a "hub" gene, controlling other "spoke" genes around it.

In the latest work, the team have shown that a second gene - phosphodiesterase 4B (PDE4B) - also plays a crucial role.

This gene was already known to be involved in brain development and memory storage.

Damage to either or both genes can increase the risk of a mental health problem, the researchers say.

The extent of the flaws influence what kind of illness someone has, and its severity, they suggest.

Both genes determine the behaviour of one specific protein, which interact with each other.

It is this interaction which scientists think could be targeted with drugs, perhaps by modifying the amount or quality of the DISC1 protein, or by changing the way the PDE4B protein behaves.

The researchers worked along with scientists from the pharmaceutical company Merck, Sharp & Dohme Limited.

'Tantalising, but speculative'

Professor David Porteous at the University of Edinburgh, who led the work, said: "It is now clear that the DISC1 gene plays an important role in the risk of developing schizophrenia or bipolar affective disorder [manic depression].

"The new genetic link we have made to PDE4B and how that links back to DISC1 sheds much needed light on these debilitating disorders. It also suggests a new way of thinking about developing better and effective medicines."

But he added: "Risk isn't all controlled by genes. It's very much an interaction between genes and environmental factors."

But in a commentary in Science, Dr Akira Sawa and Dr Solomon Snyder of the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, warned: "However tantalising, the prediction of drug effects is still highly speculative."

Paul Corry, of the mental health charity Rethink, said: "What this research underlines is that schizophrenia is a very complex condition involving an interaction of various genes in ways that have not been defined.

"The research offers wider clues to the interaction between genes and any research that seeks to shed light on these complex interactions is to be welcomed, but the results should not be presented as the definitive cause of schizophrenia."

He added: "While we welcome any new research or progress into understanding the causes of schizophrenia, it would need to be checked before it would make a difference to the thousands of people living with severe mental illness in the UK."

Kind regards

Nick


 

Genes can be changed by foods... - Good news!?

Posted by Nickengland on November 18, 2005, at 7:50:00

In reply to Mental illness genetic risk found - Good news? :), posted by Nickengland on November 18, 2005, at 7:43:10

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4445636.stm

Forgot the link!

Kind regards

Nick

-------------------------------------------------

Great Research...

Genes can be 'changed' by foods

Nutrients may switch different genes on and off
What we eat may influence our health by changing specific genes, researchers believe.
Several studies in rodents have shown that nutrients and supplements can change the genetics of animals by switching on or off certain genes.

It is not clear whether foods do the same in humans, but an article in New Scientist says there is good reason to believe they do.

In the future, diseases might be reversed by diet in this way, it says.

Modifying DNA

While many disorders in humans are caused by mutations to DNA, a few, including some cancers, occur when genes are switched on or off.

There are thousands of genes in the body, but not all of them are active.

Scientists have been looking at what factors might control gene activity and have found some evidence to suggest that diet is important.

In a recent animal experiment, adult rats were made to behave differently by injecting them with a specific amino acid called L-methionine.


Researchers are studying DNA methylation

After the injections, the animals were less confident when exploring new environments and produced higher levels of stress hormones.

The change to their behaviour occurred because the amino acid altered the way the rat's genes were expressed.

L-methionine altered a gene for glucocorticoid that helps control the animal's response to stress, Moshe Szyf and his team from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, told a meeting on environmental epigenomics in November in Durham, North Carolina.

It added chemical tags, known as methyl groups, to the gene by a process called methylation.

The researchers are now looking to see if they can cause a positive rather than a negative behavioural change in animals using a naturally-occurring chemical called trichostatin A (TSA).

"It's quite a strong possibility that nutrients might cause DNA changes"

Professor Ian Johnson at the Institute of Food Research

TSA causes the opposite effect to L-methionine on genes, stripping them of methyl groups.

Dr Szyf said his work showed how important subtle nutrients and supplements can be.

Animal research has also shown that a mother's diet can affect the level of DNA methylation and hence gene expression in offspring.

Professor Ian Johnson at the Institute of Food Research is investigating whether colon cancer in humans might be triggered by diet through DNA methylation. His team is studying healthy people before this cancer starts.

He said: "It's quite a strong possibility that nutrients might cause DNA changes. We think diet may have a role to play as a regulator in genes.

"Ultimately one would want to chose diets that would give you the most beneficial pattern of DNA methylation in the gut. But it is too early to say that we know the dietary strategy to do that.

"We need much more research.

"Genes regulate all the processes in the body and things that change gene expression, therefore, may be linked to a number of health issues other than cancer too."

He said one nutrient that scientists believe might influence methylation is folate or folic acid.

A deficiency in folate levels has been linked to an increased risk of developing some adult cancers, including breast and colon.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4441564.stm

Kind regards

Nick


 

Re: Genes can be changed by foods... - Good news!? Nickengland

Posted by redscarlet on November 18, 2005, at 8:22:45

In reply to Genes can be changed by foods... - Good news!?, posted by Nickengland on November 18, 2005, at 7:50:00

Thanks for the post.
This is, VERY GOOD NEWS... :-)

 

Re: Genes can be changed by foods... - Good news!? redscarlet

Posted by Nickengland on November 18, 2005, at 13:04:01

In reply to Re: Genes can be changed by foods... - Good news!? Nickengland, posted by redscarlet on November 18, 2005, at 8:22:45

You're very welcome! :-)

Kind regards

Nick

 

Re: Genes can be changed by foods... - Good news!? Nickengland

Posted by Phillipa on November 18, 2005, at 20:04:35

In reply to Re: Genes can be changed by foods... - Good news!? redscarlet, posted by Nickengland on November 18, 2005, at 13:04:01

Hi Nick! Yes that is very good news. Fondly, Phillipa


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