Skip to navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer

Approved research

Genetic overlap of Motor Neurone Disease and neuropsychiatric disorders

Principal Investigator: Miss Caroline McHutchison
Approved Research ID: 10639
Approval date: March 29th 2017

Lay summary

Around 50% of people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) experience changes in cognition and behaviour. In 15% of cases, behavioural changes will meet the criteria for a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Behaviour changes are similar to those seen in psychiatric diseases including psychosis, anxiety and autism. There is evidence of a genetic overlap between neurodegenerative disease and neuropsychiatric disorders. This study aims to investigate: -The genetic correlation and association between MND with relevant neuropsychiatric illnesses and psychological traits (e.g. personality and cognition). -The rates of neuropsychiatric disorders in the UK Biobank to compare to those with MND. Seeking the use of the UK Biobank?s medical, genetic and psychiatric data, this study aims to provide further evidence of a causal overlap between MND and neuropsychiatric disorders. Exploration of genetic links between MND and neuropsychiatric disorders would result in a better understanding of the mechanisms behind this disease and its complications. In addition, data obtained will also be used to document the rates of psychiatric disorders in the UK Biobank to allow comparison to those with MND. These aims align with the UK Biobank?s aims of identifying causes and improving diagnosis of serious illnesses. We will test for a genetic overlap by comparing the genotypic information from those with a diagnosis of MND with those with a diagnosis of various neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g. major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia etc.). We will also examine whether there is a genetic correlation between scores on measures of psychiatric illnesses in those with and without a diagnosis of MND. Data from the UK Biobank's Thoughts and Feelings Questionnaire will be used as control data to determine whether scores are higher in people living with MND and their family members compared to the general population. We would need access to the full UK Biobank cohort.