Depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder linked with ancient viral DNA in our genome – new research

Around 8% of human DNA is made up of genetic sequences acquired from ancient viruses. These sequences, known as human endogenous retroviruses (or Hervs), date back hundreds of thousands to millions of years – with some even predating the emergence of Homo sapiens.

This article is written by Rodrigo Duarte, Research Fellow, King's College LondonDouglas Nixon, Professor of Immunology in Medicine, Cornell University, and Timothy Powell, Senior lecturer, King's College London. It is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

 

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 28 May 2024

Self-harm and digital technology overuse in young people with lived mental health experience

New research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, in partnership with YoungMinds – the UK’s leading children’s mental health charity - has found high levels of problematic mobile phone use, disturbed sleep, and self-harm among young people with mental health conditions. 

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 22 May 2024

Ancient viral DNA in the human genome linked to major psychiatric disorders

New research led by King’s College London has found that thousands of DNA sequences originating from ancient viral infections are expressed in the brain, with some contributing to susceptibility for psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression.

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 22 May 2024

£4.8 million Wellcome funding to predict outcomes following anxiety treatment

Wellcome has awarded over £4.8m for researchers to predict individual outcomes following psychological treatments for anxiety, and to identify genetic and cognitive mechanisms. The project, “Discovering therapeutic mechanisms and predicting psychological treatment outcome: towards stratified interventions for anxiety”, is led by Professor Thalia Eley, NIHR Maudsley BioResource Deputy Co-Lead and Professor of Developmental Behavioural Genetics at King's IoPPN.

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 17 May 2024

Why diversity in nature could be the key to mental wellbeing

Humans rely on a wide range of animals, plants and microorganisms for healthy living environments. Research has shown that the continuing decline in biodiversity – the variety of life on Earth – is a threat to humanity’s existence. A study my colleagues and I conducted takes this knowledge further. We have shown that biodiversity can also play a critical role for people’s mental wellbeing.

This blog is by Andrea Mechelli, Professor of Early Intervention in Mental Health, King's IoPPN. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 16 May 2024