Severe mental disorders (schizophrenia and bipolar/manic-depressive disorder) are major causes of disability worldwide, and rank as some of the most costly disorders to afflict humans. The etiology still remains elusive, but there is now overwhelming evid ence that genetic factors play a prominent role.
The search for genetic mechanisms has been problematic because of the lack of valid diagnostic criteria and inadequate genetic methods. However, newly developed brain imaging techniques are potentially eff ective tools for identification of specific phenotypes (endophenotypes), and the sequencing of the human genome as well as new high throughput molecular genetic techniques have opened new and huge possibilities in this field of research.
These new method s and approach to psychiatric genetics will be used in this project. The goal is to identify genetic factors that contribute to the development of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder by using endophenotypes based on clinical characteristics, cognitive func tion and brain imaging data.
The project is an extension of an ongoing clinical study (Ullevaal 600), where 600 well characterized patients and 300 controls are being included. A subgroup of these patients will be investigated with brain imaging techniqu es (fMRI), and the collected DNA will be analyzed for genetic variants associated with the endophenoypes as well as the diagnoses. The project will fund fMRI investigations as well as psychiatric molecular genetic analyses, both at Ullevaal and in collabo ration with high-thoughput platforms (FUGE).
The project will contribute to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of these disorders, which may lead to better prevention and more effective treatment regimens.
A similar application is submitted to the EURYI award programme