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Approved research

Assessing relationships between schizophrenia polygenic risk scores and other medical diagnoses among individuals without schizophrenia

Principal Investigator: Dr Sarah Bergen
Approved Research ID: 54928
Approval date: January 31st 2020

Lay summary

Our project seeks to understand the relationships between genetic risk for schizophrenia and comorbid disorders including both psychiatric disorders and other medical conditions. Schizophrenia is a disabling mental disorder with profound personal and societal costs, substantial comorbidity resulting in markedly reduced life expectancy, and incompletely known risk factors. Most of the risk for schizophrenia comes from genetic sources, and >170 genetic risk variants have been identified. People with this disorder experience higher rates of many other psychiatric and other medical conditions which leads to much lower life expectancy for people with this diagnosis. The relationships between genetic risk for schizophrenia and comorbid disorders remain largely unknown. This study will use information from previous genetic studies to construct genetic risk scores for schizophrenia which quantify the risk from genetic sources for each individual, whether or not they develop the disorder. We plan to use these scores to understand to what extent genetic risk for schizophrenia confers increased risk for other medical diagnoses. The analysis on UKBiobank data will start as soon as the data is accessible. We estimate the duration including manuscript preparation to be approximately 9 months. Successful completion of this project will elucidate the clinical impact of genetic risk loci for schizophrenia beyond this disorder and offer insights into the causes of comorbidity responsible for most early mortality in schizophrenia. We anticipate this work will contribute to advancements in treatment and prevention efforts.