You Asked

Questions from Dr. State's Lecture
February 7, 2013

Do you know whether genetically modified food ingested by one or both parents would be a cause of genetic mutations?
There is no evidence to support this statement.

How can you apply these findings in the genome to inherited mental disorders?
Although ultimately the application of gene interventions is a goal, we are years from the clinical application of these findings.

Treatment prior to conception?
Recommend genetic counseling if there are concerns in order to address specific findings. Being informed is always the best way to make decisions. Nonetheless, all women of child bearing age should supplement with folic acid. It is also prudent to discuss the teratogenic side effects of medications with a physician.

What about bipolar and the aggressive/violent preteen?
An aggressive/violent preteen merits a complete medical and psychiatric evaluation. Both biologic and interactive factors should be identified and addressed.

I had heard of a new breakthrough for schizophrenia medication. Is it similar to the fragile x med or do you know of it?
Most of the newer agents for schizophrenia target negative symptoms. The more important question is what symptom(s) are targeted and to match the symptom with the medication based on risk, benefits and side effects of the medication?

Do we know if de novo mutations are increasing? If so, are any factors besides the age of the father being hypothesized or discovered?
De novo mutations are part of the cycle of evolutionary development and they manifest often. Depending on the pathology, the age of both biological parents may or may not play a role. We hope that future studies may elucidate these factors.

OCD – How do you determine when symptoms of OCD are severe enough to warrant some type of treatment?
Treatment is warranted when the patient is amenable to treatment. Usually when the symptoms cause severe impairment in functioning, as manifested by the loss of employment, loss of a spouse or other significant relationship, or incarceration. However, lack of severity should not impede a patient from seeking help.

If there are only a few crucial genes necessary to “cause” a disorder, why are the total counts in a given area so different?
There are a few crucial genes, but many combinations of the genetic material. Some areas of the genome are more prone to errors due to location. The areas where the genome exchanges genetic material are more susceptible to “mistakes.” We can use the analogy of traffic, the greater the traffic in any given area, the more risk of accidents or mistakes.