Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders characterized by significant feelings of anxiety and fear. Unfortunately, it is a widespread disorder amongst the population. A new study on this subject shows how areas on the human genome associated with an increased risk of anxiety.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. According to a study from 2013, the disorder affected eight million people in the U.K. alone.
The reason for this mental illness is still unknown. The life factors may play an important role, such as stress at work, immense fear, and so many other similar elements, but it could also be due to something more fundamental, a genetic component. A study conducted by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) shows what parts of the genome are more likely to be involved. The study was based on the data from hundreds of thousands of American military veterans, part of the VA Million Veteran Program (MVP).
A new study showed more fact about anxiety disorders
Nearly 200,000 diverse veterans had their genomes compared to the study. Researchers have distinguished five genome locations linked to anxiety in Americans of European descent and one genome location in African Americans. They say that gene variants at specific genome locations could increase anxiety risk.
“Minorities are underrepresented in genetic studies,” said Dr. Dan Levey at the V.A. Connecticut Healthcare Center and Yale University, one of the study’s lead authors, “and the diversity of the MVP was essential for this part of the project. The genetic variant we identified occurs only in individuals of African ancestry, and would have been completely missed in less diverse cohorts.”
With the help of these new findings, doctors could give patients customized treatment by using data such as their genetic profile.