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New research shows our genes influence the way our brains are ‘wired up’ in childhood making us more vulnerable to a range of mental health conditions in later life.

Image shows a cartoon of the brain with colours and lines representing the neural-pathways.

A new study, A structural brain network of genetic vulnerability to psychiatric illness, has revealed a common pattern of connections in the brains of people whose genes predispose them to mental health problems.

Findings show that brains ‘wired up’ in this way are associated with not just one but a whole range of mental health conditions, including schizophrenia, autism, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

Dubbed a ‘vulnerability network’, this pattern of connections may help scientists to understand why different mental health conditions seem to run in the same families and explain what makes a patient with one psychiatric disorder more likely to be diagnosed with another.


What’s really exciting about this research is that it gives us a better understanding of the way mental health conditions emerge. We hope that this discovery holds the potential to inform the development of better interventions to treat and prevent psychiatric disorders.Dr Maxime Taquet, Research Lead, University of Oxford

For more information, read the study on 'A structural brain network of genetic vulnerability to psychiatric illness'.

Learn about how the NIHR, Oxford Health BRC have found a 'New piece in the puzzle linking genes and mental illness'.


Please follow the link below to read the news on the NIHR BRC website.