Study provides new insights into schizophrenia and other mental health conditions

A recent study claims to have identified a new common gene mutation linked to psychosis in people living with schizophrenia and other mental health conditions.

The Icelandic research, which has been published in the journal Nature Genetics in recent weeks, monitored a small sample of people who all reported common psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions.

Despite sharing these symptoms, however, the patients assessed – who were all part of the same family – had previously been diagnosed with three very different mental health conditions: schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and psychotic bipolar disorder.

However, the research found that all ten patients studied shared a common mutation in one gene, known as RBM12.

The study builds upon previous research which has found that people are more likely to develop psychosis or psychotic disorders if a sibling or family member has been affected by a similar condition.

Commenting, study author, neurologist and co-founder of deCODE Genetics, Kari Stefansson, said: “Genome-wide association studies have been done previously and have been very useful to find common genetic variants involved in psychosis.

“But when you want to find a rare, highly penetrant variant, this method is not as effective.

“Looking at what goes on in a family affected by the condition is probably more helpful. Here, it is the first time that this particular variant is associated with psychosis.”