Genetic Links Between 5 Psychiatric Disorders Found
A medical study, published in the medical journal Lancet, could change how we understand and treat psychiatric illnesses.
Scientists have been able to find genetic variants that are linked to not just one of the disorders, but to five major psychiatric disorders including autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia.
Dr Jordan Smoller, a psychiatry professor at Massachusetts General Hospital, explained, “There were several regions of the genome, several variations that seemed to increase the risk for all five. It's important to realize, of course, that this is a small part of the genetic component of these disorders, but it points to a shared biology,” he said.
The researchers were optimistic about finding a biological link owing to the fact that disorders often group in families. Smoller added, “It's not only that, we sometimes see the same family being affected with multiple kinds of disorders, so there was some evidence that there would be shared links, but this is the first time we've been able to see specific DNA variations.”
Will The Study Affect How We Treat These Disorders?
“Well, not immediately,” Smoller said. “But one of the interesting findings from the study was that genes involved in how calcium channels operate in the brain. These are important for how brain cells communicate. It seemed to be associated with all of these disorders, so it raises the possibility that treatments that target those channels might have broad effects.”
Smoller was keen to emphasise that just because an individual has family members that have one of these disorders doesn't mean they will develop a disorder. “We do know that all psychiatric disorders do seem to run in families to a degree,” he said. “We also know that genes are not destiny. It is not the entire picture. But the hope is that we're going learn something fundamental about how these disorders occur.”
Asked if eventually predicting these disorders is possible, Smoller said, “We're not there yet, but the more we learn about the genetic and non-genetic causes of these disorders, the better position we're going to be to know who might be at risk and what we might be able to do.”
Schneider Electric's intelligent patient room: need to know
Schneider Electric has launched a virtual showcase that features its new "intelligent patient room". What is it exactly?
Who: Schneider Electric is a multinational that develops energy and automation solutions for many different industries - including hospitality, education, defence, and healthcare. Founded in 1836, today it is a Fortune 500 company, and it currently provides technology to 40% of hospitals around the world, among them Penn Medicine, one of the top hospitals in the US where Schneider's EcoStruxure for Healthcare is deployed, an IoT solution.
What: Schneider has launched its Innovation Experience Live Healthcare Lab, an immersive experience that takes visitors through a demonstration of a hospital, including the doctor’s office, the operating room, and the intelligent patient room.
The room features a digital patient footwall - a touchscreen that creates a single reference point for patients, families and healthcare providers, by incorporating care information, entertainment and environmental controls all in one place. A separate digital patient door display has important information for healthcare staff.
All Schneider's equipment is low-voltage, and integrated so that the patient room, clinical needs and IT are all seamlessly connected, what Schneider calls a digital “system of systems.”
Why: Mike Sanders, Customer Projects & Services in Healthcare Innovation at Schneider Electric, explains: “The hospital of the future will need to put the patient experience at the forefront, using innovative and connected systems to provide superior in-hospital care experiences.”
“With the shift to remote work and business brought forth by the pandemic, we knew that we needed to invest in a new virtual experience that showcases our vision for a truly integrated healthcare experience. We believe our intelligent patient room is the solution that our healthcare partners and customers have been looking for, and we’re excited to offer a way for them to experience it no matter where they are in the world.”
Where: The virtual experience was modelled after the new innovations installed at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, the first real-world installation of Schneider Electric’s fully integrated intelligent patient room technology. It is currently being hosted at the company’s St. Louis Innovation Hub and Innovation Executive Briefing Center (IEBC) facility.