Study of psychiatric disorders is difficult in man and mouse

One of the challenges with treating psychiatric disorders is finding a way to study them outside of the human brain. When there is no fundamental understanding of how a disease works, it becomes that much harder to find comparable symptoms in an animal or cell. And when you’re working with diseases such as depression that have symptoms that are hard to objectively quantify, there’s an extra layer of complexity.

A new study highlights one of the ways that scientists can study genetic contributions to human psychiatric disorders in animal models, by taking a mutated gene from a human and putting it into a mouse. The work shows how a single change in a gene’s code  could contribute to behavioral changes in humans can be studied in detail in animals, and how knowledge from such studies can help us understand psychiatric diseases such as ADHD. Neuropharmacologist Randy Blakely and his lab at Vanderbilt University in Nashville is referenced in the article.

Read More >