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Approved research

The genetic epidemiology of mental illness, cognition and related behavioural traits

Principal Investigator: Dr Eilis Hannon
Approved Research ID: 10163
Approval date: April 1st 2015

Lay summary

Mental illnesses (e.g. schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression) encompass a broad range of symptoms leading to varied presentations that can be difficult to diagnose. We plan to use UK BioBank to investigate the symptoms, psychosocial factors, cognitive profiles and personality traits associated with these disorders. We will also use available genome-wide SNP data to identify genetic variants associated with these measures in the general population. Our primary research question focuses on understanding the genetic and population level overlap of these symptom dimensions. Our aims are to further understand the multifaceted features of psychiatric disorders, their causes and how they interact together. This will be beneficial to patients and clinicians as it will provide information to aid diagnosis and inform treatment options. We will quantify the occurrence of each these symptoms in the general population, as well as how often they occur together. We will then look for genetic variants that increase the risk of these symptom measures and assess the genetic overlap of these causes between the different symptom domains. We will include all individuals who answered questions relating to depressive, hyper or manic symptoms, or personality traits or performed cognitive function tests currently ~188,000 and those that perform the additional cognitive tests being rolled out to at the end of 2014 ~300,000.