by William Van Ornum, Ph.D. on
The New York Times recently reported on cutting-edge research with direct implications for mental health.
Genetic researchers discovered a variety of gene mutations in the genes affecting the enzymes produced by the liver: chemicals that are the first step in changing psychiatric drugs into other chemicals that can then influence the brain. (The variety of “livers” and “liver-functioning” is incredibly varied.)
A genetic test identifies the genetic anomalies regarding these. Persons with this genetic profile will break down medications, including those for depression, either faster or slower, depending on the type of genetic variation. This may be one explanation why there is so much “trial and error” when psychiatrists prescribe a drug. Some persons require a large dose, and some need a low dose. Knowing the genetic profile through genetic testing, say researchers, might help greatly in giving each person the dosage he or she needs without so much trial and error.
Many ethical questions accompany this. AMHF follows this research closely as it falls into our mission of boosting quality of mental-health care.