South Africa: We found a genetic link between routine blood test results and mental health disorders

According to our new study of genetic, biochemical and psychiatric data from nearly one million people, mental health disorders, including depression, schizophrenia and anorexia, show links with biological markers detected in blood tests of routine.

The research will increase our understanding of the causes of mental illness and could help identify new treatments.

Healthy body, healthy mind

People often view mental health as separate from the health of the rest of the body. This is far from true: there is clear evidence that many biochemicals implicated in diseases such as diabetes and autoimmune diseases have a direct impact on the functioning of our brains.

Many studies have attempted to address this issue by focusing on substances called biomarkers that can be easily measured in the blood.

A biomarker is simply something in the body that is indicative of a particular disease or process. These are often related to the kinds of things reported in a blood test prescribed by your doctor, such as cholesterol, blood sugar, liver enzymes, vitamins, or markers of inflammation.

The biomarkers found in routine blood tests are useful because they are often affected by diet and lifestyle, or by drug treatment.

The complex role of genetics in mental health

It’s often…

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