Guide What Is Your Spiritual Quotient?: How to Respond to Lifes Toughest Issues with Spiritual Intelligence

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There is strong evidence of a genetic transmission of recurrent major depression. In fact, having a family member with major depression increases a person's risk eight-fold. Heritability is considered to be about percent. A history of depression in a parent is the strongest risk factor for depression in a child. Researcher Myrna Weissman at New York State Psychiatric Institute found high rates of psychiatric disorders — particularly anxiety disorders — in the grandchildren of families with two generations of major depression.

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Fifty-nine percent of these grandchildren, with a mean age of twelve years, were suffering from a psychiatric disorder. A twin study found a 46 percent concordance of depression in identical twins and 20 percent in fraternal twins. Interestingly, in this study, shared family environment had no impact on depression.

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This high level of mortality in families with depression may be linked to heart disease. A significant number of studies show a relationship between depression and cardiovascular problems. Studies report the prevalence of major depression in cardiac patients as between 17 percent and 27 percent in hospitalized patients. Serotonin may play a part in depression, but is also contributes to cardiovascular disorders.

Serotonin plays a role in platelet aggregation, and platelet serotonin levels correlate negatively with severity of depression. In a clinical study University of Pittsburgh, blood platelet serotonin levels were 39 percent lower in patients who had made a suicide attempt.

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Recently, scientists have discovered a gene that contributes to depression, called the serotonin transporter gene. Two forms of the gene have been discovered, described as the short and long gene form. Some studies suggest that inheriting the short form of the gene doubles the risk of depression, but recent studies found no correlation. Those who carry two copies of the short version of the gene are also more prone to alcohol abuse.

It has long been known that bipolar disorders also have a high genetic predisposition. The genetic penetrance of bipolar disorder is about 70 percent. What is not as well known is that bipolar disorder has also been genetically linked to cystic kidney disease , a disorder in which cysts growing in the center of each kidney cause them to malfunction.

In one study, out of seven members with medullary cystic kidney disease, five had bipolar I disorder, one had unipolar depression, and one had a hyperthymic phenotype.

Two known genetic loci of cystic kidney disease are found in regions of chromosomes 1 and 16 — areas that have been previously linked to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The children of parents diagnosed with bipolar disorder are more likely to exhibit disruptive behavior disorders, separation anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobias, or depression.

These problems usually emerge in early or middle childhood. Hagop Souren Akiskal, the director of the International Mood Center in San Diego, has found temperament dysregulation as an important familial genetic factor in the vulnerability for manic- depressive episodes. He believes that a trait known as hyperthymic temperament is a state often found in families with full-blown bipolar disorder.

This temperament is characterized by upbeat, highly energetic, and overconfidence. People with these traits do not seek help for mental problems and, therefore, are rarely seen by mental health professionals.

They often, however, will seek help for marital problems, job instability, or problems with impulse control. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than two million Americans are affected by some form of schizophrenia. This array of illnesses can severely impair a person's ability to manage emotions, interact with others, and think clearly. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, and social withdrawal. Although there are several treatments available today, the majority of people suffering from these maladies will suffer chronically or episodically throughout their lives.

Even with treatment, one of every ten people with schizophrenia eventually commits suicide.

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There seem to be genetic and epigenetic contributors to schizophrenia. The heritability of schizophrenia is about 70 percent. Several studies suggest that there is an increased risk of schizophrenia in people with older fathers. The risk of schizophrenia is increased for both males and female with fathers 55 years or older.

The seasonal peak in schizophrenic births increases the further north a person resides. There is evidence that lack of UV light and low vitamin D may contribute to schizophrenia. In , scientists at Columbia University asserted that up to one fifth of all schizophrenia cases are caused by prenatal infections. Interestingly, Cox 2 inhibitors, which are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, are an effective treatment for schizophrenia.

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Patrick McCann, at the University of Oklahoma, has developed a diagnostic breath test that uses lasers to measure the amount of carbon disulphide in breath of children. Carbon disulphide is known to be at higher levels of in the breath of people with schizophrenia — even in infants. This allows him to make diagnoses decades before symptoms occur. Family members of schizophrenics but without the disorders are at higher risk for other problems. For example, idiosyncratic use of language a trait similar to the thought disorder observed in schizophrenia occurs in 37 percent of clinically unaffected first-degree relatives of individuals with schizophrenia, a rate almost six times higher than the presence of schizophrenia in the same families.

Other researchers have noted that family members of a person diagnosed with schizophrenia have a higher incidence of seizure disorders. When the rates for thought disorder, schizophrenia, and related clinical conditions are combined, the proportion of potential gene-carrying relatives is close to 50 percent, consistent with a dominant gene, and much higher than the 6. Family members also have difficulty following a slow-moving target with one's eyes, syntax errors, or idiosyncratic use of language. Physically, they often have subtle anomalies in the midline of the face, and have difficulty filtering out noises and other irrelevant stimuli, a condition known as sensory gating.

Although methamphetamine does not cause schizophrenia, the greater familial incidence for schizophrenia, the more likely an amphetamine user in that family would develop psychosis and the longer that psychosis is likely to last. Prenatal influenza virus infection has been associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia. Mental symptoms of Wolfram Syndrome. Physical symptoms of Wolfram Syndrome. Wolfram Syndrome was first described in as a familial disorder usually presenting with Type 1 juvenile-onset diabetes and vision loss.

The syndrome is an autosomal recessive disorder meaning that it only occurs in individuals who have received one copy of the gene from each parent. It is caused by a gene on the short arm of chromosome 4. The frequency of carrying the recessive genetic trait in the US population is approximately one percent. The syndrome is also characterized by the presence of neurogenic bladder frequent urination , hearing deficits, and other neurological problems. A majority of individuals who have two mutant Wolfram Syndrome genes have these distinctive symptoms.

Despite the array of symptoms, most people will have the disorder for several years before an accurate diagnosis is made. Wolfram Syndrome may also present with psychological symptoms, such as depression, violent and assaultive behavior, chronic anxiety, panic attacks, and hallucinations. Many attempt suicide.

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Most people with the disorder die prematurely with progressive, widespread atrophic changes throughout the brain. Unfortunately, 60 percent of those with the syndrome die by age While it takes two aberrant genes to manifest the full-blown syndrome, those who carry a single mutation, a condition called Wolfram Syndrome Heterozygotes , have no distinguishing physical characteristics but constitute approximately one percent of the population.

Family members who carry a single mutation in the Wolfram Syndrome gene are 26 times more likely to require hospitalization for depression and suicide attempts than people who do not have the gene. Researchers Ronnie and Michael Swift at New York Medical College estimate that even though only one percent of the general population carries the gene — about 25 percent of the patients hospitalized for psychiatric difficulties may be carrying the gene. Mental symptoms of hemochromatosis. Physical symptoms of hemochromatosis.


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Hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes iron accumulation in the body. People of Western European descent — with ancestors from Ireland, Wales, Scotland, or Great Britain — have a percent probability of carrying a gene for hemochromatosis.