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Genes have a lot to do with anxiety and mental health disorders


Washington: Six gene types determine if a person would be prone to anxiety, a detailed study on 200,000 veteran military personnel has recently published.

A report published on Tuesday in the American Journal of Psychiatry by researchers from Yale and to her institutions’ colleagues suggests, specific genes influence depression to an extent of posttraumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and even schizophrenia.

Though explaining anxiety, depression and other mental health issues might not be possible yet, traces of certain genes’ risk factors have been confirmed. Joel Gelernter, co-lead author and professor of Psychiatry believes that this is the most useful outcome till date from a study around anxiety.

“While there were many studies on the genetic basis of depression earlier, countable have looked for gene variants linked to anxiety, disorders affecting every 1 in 10 Americans,” voiced senior author Murray Stein.


To conduct the study, the team of researchers collaborated with colleagues from Veteran Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System, the University of California San Diego and VA San Diego Healthcare System.

A number of these variants have a link with genes that contribute towards governing gene activity or interestingly, to estrogen, the gene involved with sexual activity. This naturally explains why females tend to suffer from anxiety more than men.

The other newly discovered gene with influence on anxiety, MAD1L1, has been linked to other mental health disorders as well. However, the function of the gene is yet to be entirely figured out.

Yale’s Daniel Levey, a postdoctoral associate and co-lead author of the study looks forward to the outcome and future prospect. He shared, “One of the goals of this research is to find important risk genes that are associated with risk for many psychiatric and behavioural traits for which we don’t have a good explanation.”

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