Shared Genes May Link ADHD, Autism and Depression

(HealthDay News) — Autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia may all share common genetic risk factors, a new study says.

In this largest study of its kind, researchers spotted gene variations governing brain function that may raise the risk for these often devastating mental woes. In the future, these gene variants might become key targets for prevention or treatment, the scientists said.

"This study, for the first time, shows that there are specific genetic variants that influence a range of childhood and adult-onset psychiatric disorders that we think of as clinically different," said lead researcher Dr. Jordan Smoller, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

via Shared Genes May Link ADHD, Autism and Depression.

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Ketamine improved bipolar depression within minutes, study suggests

Bipolar disorder is a serious and debilitating condition where individuals experience severe swings in mood between mania and depression. The episodes of low or elevated mood can last days or months, and the risk of suicide is high.

Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to treat or prevent the depressive episodes, but they are not universally effective. Many patients still continue to experience periods of depression even while being treated, and many patients must try several different types of antidepressants before finding one that works for them. In addition, it may take several weeks of treatment before a patient begins to feel relief from the drugs effects.

via Ketamine improved bipolar depression within minutes, study suggests.

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Could acute postpartum blues signal bipolar disorder? | Reuters

(Reuters Health) – Women treated for severe psychiatric conditions including major depression shortly after giving birth were more likely to be diagnosed as bipolar later in life compared to those whose first psychiatric episode happened at any other time, in a new study from Denmark.

Researchers said they didn’t know if some postpartum depression or schizophrenia-like episodes were actually misdiagnosed bipolar disorder — or if more women with those initial diagnoses developed bipolar disorder over time.

via Could acute postpartum blues signal bipolar disorder? | Reuters.

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Bipolar Kids May Focus on Different Facial Features

Children with bipolar disorder and a similar condition called severe mood dysregulation spend less time looking at the eyes when trying to identify facial features, compared to children without the psychiatric disorders, researchers say.

This new study finding may help explain why children with bipolar disorder and severe mood dysregulation have difficulty determining other people’s emotional expressions, said the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health investigators.

via Bipolar Kids May Focus on Different Facial Features.

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Zeta-Jones puts public face on mental illness

When celebrities such as Oscar-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, 41, announce they are receiving treatment for bipolar disorder, it helps reduce the social stigma of mental illness, experts say.

Personal revelations like her disclosure this week shed light on mental health disorders and treatments that can help, says David Miklowitz, professor of psychiatryat UCLA’s School of Medicine. “People can live successful lives with bipolar disorder,” he says.

About 2% of the population has bipolar disorder, says the National Institutes of Health. Miklowitz says there are four subtypes of the condition. The two most common are bipolar I and II.

Zeta-Jones says she suffers from bipolar II disorder. It is a less extreme version of type I, says Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. In bipolar II, he says, bouts with depression are much more common than manic bouts, which are characterized by high energy, sleeplessness, grandiose thoughts, and irritability. When mania does set in, it’s “hypomania,” a lower level, yet still higher than an average person’s upbeat days.

via Zeta-Jones puts public face on mental illness – USATODAY.com.

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