Genetic Linkage Set Between Communication Skills, Schizophrenia And Autism

By Collie Lane, Parent Herald January 04, 07:23 am

Genes that influence autism or schizophrenia are said to be related to the genes that confer one's ability to communicate at a certain development stage, according to a team of researchers. The team also asserted that everyone has features of autism. 

The researchers studied the genetic overlap taking over the risk of having psychiatric disorders along with the measurement of social communicative competence. Such competence relates to the ability to socially engage with other people successfully from middle childhood to adolescence.

The results of the study, which was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, showed that genes influencing social communication problems during childhood can relate to genes conferring risk for autism. However, the relationship diminishes during adolescence.

Results further presented that genes influencing risk for schizophrenia were most strongly interrelated with genes influencing social competence during later adolescence. This was connected to the natural history of the disorder, as published in Science Daily.

Neurodevelopmental disorders like autism, dyslexia and specific language impairment (SLI) do show strong genetic influence, as per a study published in NCBI. The team says that everyone has features of communication problems and even autism.

People with autism have serious difficulties in engaging socially and understanding social cues. They find it hard to engage to concrete thinking compared with non-autism people who can stay mentally focused whenever needed.

Schizophrenia is characterized by delusions, hallucinations and very disturbed thought processes. The team presented their discovery showing that these characteristics and experiences can also be found, at a mild degree, in typically developing children and adults.

"The emergence of associations between genetic predictors for different psychiatric conditions and social communication differences, around the ages the particular conditions reveal themselves, provides a window into the specific causes of these conditions." George Davey Smith, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Bristol and senior author of the study, said,

The study has clearly shown how the measurement of social communicative competence in childhood is a sensitive indicator of genetic risk, as per David Skuse, Professor of Behavioural and Brain Sciences at University College London. He added that the greatest challenge for them now is to identify how genetic variation influences the development of the social brain.

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