Shared Genes May Link ADHD, Autism and Depression

Largest study of its kind also found ties to schizophrenia, bipolar disorders

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"Therefore, the question is whether the identified shared genetic risk factors are related to the diseases or to the shared clinical symptoms," Redei said. "Shared genetic contribution can identify some key regulators in the brain, and can also help to find new drug targets," she said.

Simon Rego, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, agreed that the findings are "an important next step" in understanding mental illness.

As more gene studies are conducted and analyzed, scientists will "be in a better place to identify shared cause of psychiatric disorders at a molecular level," he said. "Ultimately, [this could] generate new models for drug interventions and possibly even prevention."

More information

For more information on mental disorders, visit the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.

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