Defining the Basis of Psychiatric Illnesses
At Mayo Clinic we have a special interest in the diagnosis and treatment of serious mental illnesses like bipolar illness. The psychiatric field is trying to improve the identification of psychiatric diagnoses. Diagnosis is traditionally determined through a clinical interview with the patient.
Today, researchers at Mayo Clinic are looking for ways to systematically gather additional information about the family history of a variety of psychiatric illnesses. Combined with genetic information about areas of the brain that are known to be associated with psychiatric illness, another new genetic study is being conducted using microarray technology to look for an association between certain subtypes of depression and problematic genes.
Doing a simple blood test on multiple generations of families with similar illnesses will give us clues about links between genomic variation and psychiatric illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and even schizophrenia. This knowledge will help target certain vulnerable populations for early treatment and preventive intervention programs. Ultimately, the implications of this new technology can be generalized to other psychiatric illnesses and to other fields of medicine.
© 2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All rights reserved.