Mental Illnesses Too Complex to Predict With Gene Tests, Researchers Say
A genetic test to predict schizophrenia or bipolar disorder is far off, say researchers who have just found that 30,000 gene variations are involved in the development of those psychiatric disorders, Reuters reports. Intriguingly, the research, published in the journal Nature , suggests that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have common genetic causes. "If some of the same genetic risks underlie schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, perhaps these disorders originate from some common vulnerability in brain development," one expert from the National Institute of Mental Health said in a BBC News report.
The researchers also found that schizophrenia patients have genetic variations on a section of chromosome 6 that has genes associated with immunity, which suggests that immune function may play a role in schizophrenia. Earlier research suggests a link between schizophrenia and autism, U.S. News's Nancy Shute reported.
Fear of Crowds? When You Need Help for Anxiety
After a weekend holiday in the Big Apple left her overwhelmed by the city's throngs of tourists and loads of locals, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz looked into what distinguishes normal anxiety from a full-blown disorder. While it's quite normal to feel trapped on a packed subway stalled between stations, one expert says, anxiety that prevents you from going out altogether calls for medical attention. Women are twice as likely as men to experience anxiety disorders such as claustrophobia and agoraphobia (fear of strangers), Kotz reports, at least partly because of fluctuating levels of sex hormones like estrogen. Pregnancy, in particular, can have a strong impact.
Here are 6 ways to manage social anxiety. Feeling paranoid? You're not alone, says one expert who calls paranoia "the 21st-century fear." About 1 in 4 people routinely suffers from paranoid thoughts. Consider these 5 ways to shrink your paranoid suspicions.
Prominent Economist Talks Health Reform
Over the past 25 years, Princeton professor Uwe Reinhardt has become a critical voice in the debate about reforming America's healthcare system. He spoke with U.S. News's Bernadine Healy about today's healthcare costs and efforts to overhaul the system. Among the topics they discussed were why the president has made health reform an urgent issue and the possibility of rationing healthcare treatments or procedures. As for healthcare's high costs, Reinhardt says the good side is that high prices have allowed incredible innovation because medical technology and delivery systems have been able to slosh around in money. The bad side, he points out, is that in 10 years, Americans on the bottom half of the income ladder won't be able to afford healthcare.
Healy has written extensively on the subject of health reform. In June she discussed why doctors take issue with Obama's health reform plan and wrote about 7 ways healthcare reform will affect Americans. In May, she voiced concern about how the proposed healthcare reform policies would be implemented. She addressed privacy issues surrounding electronic medical records, comparative-effectiveness studies, and the public insurance option that would compete with private insurance plans.
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