June 14, 2004

Dec 8 2004

How Genes Affect Moods

Insights from Harvard Medical School
Michael C. Miller, M.D.

Genes don't stop working the day we're born. They're active throughout life, switching on and off in response to cues from the environment. Unfortunately, they don't always respond in optimal ways. For every 100 people born, one ends up with schizophrenia, one develops bipolar disorder and 20 experience some form of depression. Heredity may account for as much as 80 percent of the risk for these illnesses, but we still know little about how, exactly, genes affect our risk. Fortunately, scientists are starting to find clues.

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