Mental Illness And Genetics Presentation

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Mark Saine Jordan Brown Melissa Martell Sarah ComptonGN 301 Honors/Scholars March 19, 2008


Mental Illness & GeneticsSchizophreniaBipolar DisorderAlzheimer’s DiseaseDepression


Alzheimer's disease (AD), also called Alzheimer disease or simply Alzheimer's, is the most common cause of dementia, afflicting 24 million people worldwide. Alzheimer's is a degenerative and terminal disease for which there is currently no known cure. In its most common form, it occurs in people over 65 years old although a less-prevalent early-onset form also exists.


There are more than 5 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer’s. Every 72 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s. The direct and indirect costs of the disease and other dementias amount to more that $148 billion annually.


Memory loss Difficulty Performing familiar tasks Problems with language Disorientation to time and place Poor judgment Misplacing things Changes in mood and behavior Changes in personality Loss of initiative


While scientists know Alzheimer’s disease involves progressive brain cell failure, they have not yet identified any single reason why cells fail. However, they have identified certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s.


AGE: The greatest known risk factor is increasing age. Most individuals with the disease are 65 or older. The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles every five years after age 65. After age 85, the risk reaches nearly 50 percent.


Research has shown that those who have a parent, brother or sister, or child with Alzheimer’s are more likely to develop the disease. The risk increases if more than one family member has the illness. *When diseases tend to run in families, either genetics or environmental factors or both may play a role.


Risk genes increase the likelihood of developing a disease, but do not guarantee it will happen. Scientists have so far identified one Alzheimer risk gene called apoliprotein E-e4 (APOE-e4).


Deterministic genes directly cause a disease, guaranteeing that anyone who inherits them will develop the disorder. Rare genes that directly cause Alzheimer’s have been found in only a few hundred extended families worldwide.


A gene on chromosome 19 involved in making ApoE, a substance that helps carry cholesterol in the bloodstream. The APOE e4 gene is considered a “risk factor” gene for AD and appears to influence the age of onset of the diesease.


Genetic tests are available for both APOE-e4 and the rare genes that directly cause Alzheimer’s. Health professionals do not currently recommend routine genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease.


At this time, there is no treatment or cure. There is no known drug that is assured to delay or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. FDA-approved drugs temporarily slow worsening of symptoms for about 6 to 12 months, on average, for about half the individuals who take them.


Alzheimer’s Association National Office 225 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60601 24/7 Helpline: 1.800.272.3900


Major Depressive Disorder impairs a person’s ability to work, sleep, eat and function as he or she normally would.


*Almost 15 million Americans have major depression. *Everyone is prone to clinical depression. *Usually occurs for people between the ages of 20 and 50 although people over the age of 65 are more vulnerable. *Marital Status: Women who are happily married have lower rates of depression.


To have major depressive disorder episode, for two weeks the person must have 5 of these 9 symptoms, but they must have either loss of interest or depressed mood. Depressed mood. A significantly reduced level of interest or pleasure in most or all activities. A considerable loss or gain of weight Insomnia or Hypersomnia 5. Behavior that is agitated or slowed down. 6. Feeling fatigued, or diminished energy. 7. Thoughts of worthlessness or extreme guilt 8. Ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions is reduced. 9. Frequent thoughts of death or suicide


Many factors contribute to depression. Each of these factors work in conjunction with each other to make the person develop major depressive disorder. These factors include genetics, environmental factors, and biological factors.


*The serotonin transporter gene is linked to depression. *It controls two parts of the brain: amygdala and cingulate *Two types of this gene: the long and short version *Those with two copies of the long version show better connectivity between the amygdala and cingulate


*Identical twins have identical genetic material. -If twins are raised together and one twin develops clinical depression, the other twin develops clinical depression 76% of the time. -If twins are raised apart and one twin develops clinical depression, the other twin develops clinical depression 67% of the time *Shown to go through families *If a parent or sibling has had a major depression, the person may be 1.5 to 3 times more likely to develop depression


*Researchers have found that certain fluctuations in the brain chemistry can also contribute to depression. These fluctuations are due to changes in important hormones. *It has also been found that there are imbalances in two neurotransmitters in the brain: serotonin and norepinephrine. *Cortisol, a hormone that regulates anger, fear, and stress, has also been an influence.


Environmental factors such as these increase the risk of depression: major trauma, separation from a parent before the age of 11, physical or sexual abuse during childhood, stress.


*People may not be able to do the same responsibilities that they once could do *Family of the depressed person may have feelings of guilt, anger, or sadness *Relationships become strained and others actively avoid the person that worsens the depressed person’s self image and confidence

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Last Updated: 8th March 2018

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