Health Health: Stuck virus behind mental disorders?

Health: Stuck virus behind mental disorders?


This post comes from the output 7/2020 of the Technology Review. The book is 18.6.2020 in the trade, as well as directly in the heise shop.
Highlights from the Bulletin:

Depression, schizophrenia, compulsive behavior, psychoses, autism, the diseases that can invade our soul are diverse. For a Long time, researchers discuss the genetic component is. Now scanned the researchers, the genome of more than 720,000 people. About 490,000 of them were healthy control subjects, and more than 230,000 people were suffering from at least one of the eight mental disorders came.

The result: Apparently, the individual diseases genetically have more in common with each other than the psychiatric diagnosis of drawers so far suggest, because there is not a single Depression or schizophrenia gene. Single gene variants tiny contributions, respectively, to drive the risk of a mental disorder in the height. The researchers found many so-called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) associated with multiple psychiatric disorders in the context.

But one important question can not answer, the scientists remains: How much percentage of the disease goes to the account of the genes and how much to the account of the environment? Example, schizophrenia: All schizophrenia-associated gene variants together explain currently, only about 20 percent of the differences between diseased and healthy subjects. But, according to twin studies, the heritability is up to 80 percent. So where does the remaining 60 per cent hide?

The science offers several explanations for this mismatch. A possibility is that The twin studies are based of false assumptions, and misleading. The psycho-biologist Turhan Canli of Stony Brook University, however, sees another possibility for why genetic studies have so far no full explanation for the heritability of mental disorders can find. The genetic analysis would simply exclude vast areas of human DNA of the investigation. He thinks especially of the approximately eight percent of our DNA, they have lost nothing: genes and gene fragments of the virus, specifically human endogenous retroviruses said. You are in our genome, because our ancestors were infected millions of years ago with them. The causative agents have used their Chance and will live on forever in the genome of their host registered.

Researchers suggest in the retro-viruses, a link between environmental factors such as infections, lifestyle or Stress, and the long-term Dysregulation of risk genes for mental disorders. How this retro might influence virus gene fragments of mental distress, several studies show – and in the neighborhood of some human endogenous retroviruses, the genes as risk factors for schizophrenia are known are calculated.

More about the causes of mental disorders you will learn in the new July issue of Technology Review (in the heise-shop available in well-stocked newsagents).

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