Dopamine Dysregulation a Causative Culprit in Schizophrenia?

A genetic postmortem analysis of the brains of patients with schizophrenia suggests a dysfunction of dopamine receptors in the caudate nucleus may cause the disorder. Investigators have identified a mechanism on the dopamine receptor, known as the autoreceptor, which regulates how much dopamine is released from the presynaptic neuron. Impairment of this autoreceptor leads to … Read more

Motor Impairment Indicators Shown in Children With Autism

Brain indicators of motor impairment were distinct among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), those with developmental coordination disorder (DCD), and controls, in a new study. Previous research suggests that individuals with ASD overlap in motor impairment with those with DCD. But these two conditions may differ significantly in some areas, as children with ASD … Read more

Childhood Adversity Tied to CVD in Early Adulthood

Children who experience adversity ― including serious family illness or death, poverty, neglect, or dysfunctional and stressful family relationships ― are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) in early adulthood, a large Danish study has found. Compared to young adults who experienced little adversity in childhood, peers who experienced high levels of childhood … Read more

More Than 70 Genes Strongly Linked to Autism Spectrum Disorders

Researchers have identified 72 genes very strongly linked to autism spectrum disorders and more than 250 other genes with a strong link to ASD, according to a study published in Nature Genetics. The findings, based on analysis of more than 150,000 people’s genetics, arose from a collaboration of five research groups whose work included comparisons … Read more

Chemokine Expression Predicts MDD Severity

Adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) had significantly reduced expression of chemokine receptor 4 on blood T lymphocytes, which predicted disease severity in combination with polygenic risk scores in a study of 54 individuals. Chemokines and their receptors “influence neuroendocrine signaling, neurotransmission, and interaction between neurons and microglia and have therefore been suggested to be … Read more

Sexual Assault Flagged as a Possible Psychosis Trigger

A new study sheds light on some of the risk factors for the development of psychosis, including the potentially causative role of sexual assault. Investigators conducted an exposome-wide association analysis on over 155,000 individuals. Of more than 140 correlates of psychotic experiences that they identified, they narrowed it down to 36 variables, which they further … Read more

Sleep a Potential Treatment Target for Schizophrenia?

A new analysis reveals a bidirectional relationship between sleep patterns and schizophrenia, leading researchers to suggest that sleep may be a potential treatment target for the disorder. Applying a Mendelian randomization (MR) approach, the investigators selected genetic variants from a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) conducted using data from UK Biobank and 23andMe. They … Read more

Multiple Mental Health Woes? Blame It on Genetics

Different psychiatric disorders often share the same architecture, which may help explain why many genetic individuals diagnosed with one psychiatric disorder will be diagnosed with another in their lifetime, new research suggests. Investigators conducted a genetic analysis of 11 major psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. “Our findings confirm that high comorbidity across some … Read more

Running to the Top: Exercise and Mental Health

An apple a day keeps the doctor away! We’ve probably been given this advice or know of others who have been given this advice time and time again… to eat healthier, and more important, to exercise. While exercise is not necessarily the cure-all for the world’s infections and diseases, it plays an important role in … Read more

A Primer on a Common Hair-Pulling Disorder

Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH Trichotillomania is a chronic psychiatric disorder that causes people to repeatedly pull out their own hair. Not only does it result in alopecia with no other underlying causes but it can have significant psychosocial ramifications and rare, but serious, complications. Though reported prevalence rates of up to approximately 2%, … Read more