A new study about bipolar disorder unveils shocking details. Apparently, there are dozens of genetic links that increase the risk for this condition previously identified.
Over 400,000 people (41, 917 were diagnosed with bipolar disorder) were surveyed, for what scientists believe now to be the most extensive study of its kind to date.
Here is what you need to know.
Study Insights: more than 60 genetic links
In the GWAS (the genome-wide association study), a team of scientists examined variants in participants’ DNA, searching for genetic markers that might be linked to the condition’s occurrence. What they found is genuinely intriguing.
“It is well-established that bipolar disorder has a substantial genetic basis, and identifying DNA variations that increase risk can yield insights into the condition’s underlying biology,” explained Niamh Mullins, a psychiatric geneticist from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NY.
The team multiplied the current count of known genetic links for bipolar disorder, discovering 64 regions in the genome comprising DNA variations that raise the risk. Of that, 33 are new to science. But that’s not all.
Furthermore, the team found 17 of 64 genomic loci tied with increased risk to be previously linked to the development of schizophrenia. And 7, associated with major depression.
The new findings confirm previous indications that the two sub-types of bipolar disorder (I and II) are genetically based. Specifically, BD II is tied to major depression and BD I to schizophrenia.
What Should You Know
Bipolar disorder is a genetically “passed” mental condition defined by severe mood swings, usually varying from mania to depression. Currently, there are approximately 45 million people worldwide who have bipolar disorder.
The condition is sometimes hard to recognize and harder to understand. It could be someone from your family, a neighbour or a colleague. Bipolar disorder is a severe condition, and most people choose to deal with it alone. Be kind. Always.