It’s Getting To Be A Mad Mad Gene Hunt

The wierdness the mad gene hunt has taken on becomes apparent with a heading like the following one in Science Alert, Schizophrenia variants present in all. We’re all mad, in other words, but now we’re looking for DNA patterns that would link the mad ones with the ones who haven’t been caught yet.

While previous studies have pinpointed several genes along with rare chromosomal deletions and duplications associated with the disease, these account for less than three per cent of risk of schizophrenia.

I remember reading about a chromosomal deletion that was found in 1 % of the schizophrenic population. Ironically the population labeled schizophrenic comprises about 1 % of the entire population. 1 out of 4 people with this chromosomal deletion were found to develop schizophrenia…

This coincidence is no smoking gun, surely.

But the new method found that about a quarter of schizophrenia is captured by many variants that are common in the general population.

These mad gene patterns occur in a lot of people who aren’t mad, too. Imagine that.

According to QBI’s [University of Queensland's Queensland Brain Institute], Associate Professor Naomi Wray, who led the international study, this suggests that we all carry genetic risk variants for schizophrenia, but that the disease only emerges when the burden of variants, in combination with environmental factors, reaches a certain tipping point.

Great going, Naomi! You get Lunatic Fringe’s Mad Scientist Of The Hour Award!

Genetic risk variants, in combination with environmental factors? Oh, and do environmental factors alone explain the other 75 % of the mad population? As we are dealing with biological psychiatry, I imagine the correct answer given would have to be no. The claim being we just haven’t found all the other genetic risk variants we are looking for.

I’ve read where researchers thought “mental illness” was 70 % biologically determined. Alright. We’re onto 1 in 4 cases, but we’ve still got a long long ways to go before we’ve get the other 45 % figured out.

What test did they use to come up with this 70 % figure? Well, it has to be over 50 % as they’re biological psychiatry proponents. It has to be under 100 % because there are a lot of blurred lines in the field. Just think about the number of people initially with ADHD, depression, and other disorder labels that were later tagged bipolar. In theory, supposedly based on evidense, the bipolar gene is connected to the schizophrenia gene, and so on. I imagine maybe somebody held that a 7 being his or her lucky number would look good with a zero following it.

Anyway someday we will have all these mad genes that everybody has figured out. You think?

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