Genetic risk for mental health problems can affect lifestyle choices

FRIDAY, October 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) – The genetic risk for a variety of mental health problems can affect an individual’s choice of residence, according to a study published online Oct. 27 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Jessye M. Maxwell, of King’s College London, and colleagues assessed whether people with a genetic predisposition to a range of psychiatric disorders have an increased likelihood of living in urban areas. The analysis included 385,793 participants from UK Biobank.

Researchers observed significant associations between polygenic risk score (PRS) and higher population density during adulthood (25 to> 65 years), reaching the highest significance in the age group of 45 to 55 years for schizophrenia (88 people / km2), bipolar disorder (44 people / km2), anorexia nervosa (36 people / km2) and autism spectrum disorders (35 people / km2). For schizophrenia, PRS was also significantly associated with a higher population density at the place of birth (37 people / km2). There was an association between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder PRS and reduced population density in adulthood (−31 people / km2 between 35 and 45 years old). “The results of this study support the hypothesis of genetic selection of an individual’s environment, which intersects with the traditional gene-environment dichotomy in the pathogenesis of mental disorders,” the authors write.

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