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Awry gene linked to mental illness


Psychiatric patients have been given hope of a cure by the discovery of a gene related to the development of mental illness.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh found the gene ABCA13 was frequently damaged in people with severe mental disorders.

They say the results suggest it plays a key role in mental health, and are hopeful their findings could eventually be used to “restore” psychological wellbeing to those with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Spokesman Dr Ben Pickard said: “This study is the first to identify multiple points of DNA damage within a single gene that are linked with psychiatric illness.

“It strongly suggests that this gene may regulate an important part of brain function that fails in individuals diagnosed with these devastating disorders.”

The results of the study are published in this month’s issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

The American Journal of Human Genetics

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