News.,published Oct 08, 2017 14:49:17 Neuroscience has uncovered a new genetic marker that could help explain why some people are more anxious than others.
The findings could also lead to new therapies for anxiety and depression.
Scientists at the University of Sydney found a genetic marker associated with neuroticism in two families.
They found the genetic variant, called CAG9, causes an increased risk of developing the condition.
Dr Toni Risling, a professor of psychiatry at the university’s Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, said she and her colleagues wanted to learn more about how a common variant could lead to anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.
“What we wanted to find out is whether this genetic variant affects how people develop their anxiety, which can be caused by the stresses that life is putting on them,” she said.
“In some cases, that’s an outcome of life events that happen in childhood, such as a loss of a parent, or trauma, or a traumatic event in the family.”
We want to understand whether this is also associated with a genetic risk of anxiety or depression.
“Dr Rislings research group found that people who are more prone to developing anxiety and/or depression were more likely to have a CAG10 variant.
The CAG12 variant causes a milder form of anxiety, but it also affects the immune system.”
The risk of the CAG8 variant increases with age, but this may be related to the fact that it’s the older variant that causes the stress response,” she explained.”
And there’s evidence that this genetic variation affects how the immune cells respond to certain stressors.
“Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, a neurologist and founder of the neuroimaging clinic, the Institute for Neuroimaging, and the Sydney Institute for Mindfulness and Cognition, said the findings would help us understand how anxiety and other disorders can arise.”
Dr Mozaffarians research group has found that anxiety and stress have a genetic link, and he said it was important to understand what was causing those genetic changes.””
But when you get stressed, the brain does a whole bunch of other things, it changes.”
Dr Mozaffarians research group has found that anxiety and stress have a genetic link, and he said it was important to understand what was causing those genetic changes.
“It’s important to look at what’s causing anxiety and to ask what are the underlying genetic pathways,” he explained.
“So, what’s the genetic mechanism?”
Dr Rifkind, the neuroscientist, said it had been a long time since researchers had looked at the brain, and its connections with the immune, nervous and hormonal systems.
“There’s a lot of new science, and it’s going to take time,” she warned.
“That means that we need to continue to explore the mechanisms.”