Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Parental Genes In Conflict Leads To Mental Disorders?

In medical science, sometimes, a radical, creative approach is needed to find answers to old questions. For example, nobody is entirely sure about what causes mental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, and there is even less information on how these things work on a biochemical level. This is the case with a recent theory regarding what causes people to have the aforementioned mental disorders, as well as narrow down factors that could make some people more likely to develop them than others.

The radical new theory was derived from the realization that mutations in a person's genetic code can result in changes in behavior. It is believed that genetic links might be responsible for increased risk factors of various mental conditions. Depression, bi-polar disorder, and various other mood and mental disorders have all been found to have some sort of genetic mutation linked to them, and it is quite possible that genetics is also linked to schizophrenia, autism, and dementia. However, the theory is not quite as simple as that.

The idea, according to the people that formulated it, can be rather straightforward. The theory put forth states that there is an evolutionary “tug of war” going on between genetic data from the father's sperm and the mother's egg that is tipping the brain development of the fetus. Theoretically, relative mental stability comes about when a balance is achieved between the two. When the genetic bias is pulled strongly towards the father's genetic contribution, the developing brain is pulled towards the autistic spectrum. This is shown in a fascination with objects, patterns, and systems, but at the expense of social skills. The opposite, a bias towards the mother's genes, moves the brain into the psychotic area. This causes a hypersensitivity to mood, emotions, and an increased risk of developing mood-related disorders and schizophrenia later on in life.

In simple terms, autism and schizophrenia, according to the theory, are products of a conflict between the genetic data of the parents. This, theoretically, could affect things like psychiatric and developmental disorder risk factors. The theory, if proven accurate or plausible, could lead to an entirely new avenue of research.

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