News, literature, and events in the ethical, social, and legal implications of psychiatric, neurologic, and behavioral genetics. 
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   No. 1            February 2014


In the News

Scientists Find Gene Linking Brain's Gray Matter to Intelligence
Discovery could help with understanding learning difficulties. Research article available here. 

Complex Genomics Expands Role of Genetic Counselors 
Genetic counselors examine emerging genomic technologies on their practice. 

Behaviour and biology: The accidental epigeneticist
By studying disadvantaged children, Richard Tremblay has traced the roots of chronic aggressive behaviour back as far as infancy. Now he hopes to go back further.

Ethics: Taboo Genetics 
Probing the biological basis of certain traits ignites controversy. But some scientists choose to cross the red line anyway. 
Searching Genes to Avoid Medical Side Effects
Scientists searching for a way to avoid prescribing medications to patients that may cause dangerous physical or behavioral responses are turning increasingly to those patients' DNA.

"Jumping Genes" Linked to Schizophrenia
Spome so-called jumping genes that copy and paste themselves throughout the genome may be linked to schizophrenia.

Personality May Be Key to Genetics of Bipolar Disorder
People with bipolar disorder vary significantly from their unaffected relatives, and from healthy controls, on several measures of personality.
To contribute a news item, academic article, or event on the ethical, legal, and social implications of psychiatric, neurological, and behavioral genetics research please email us



Braingenethics Seminar:

Columbia University
February 24, 2014 4PM
Kenneth Kendler, MD
Departments of Psychiatry and Genetics
Virginia Commonwealth University 

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In the Literature 

New Ethical Issues for Genetic Counseling in Common Health
Recent genetic findings of high-impact genetic variants in bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) must lead to profound changes in genetic and family counseling.

Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Surrounding Research on Genetic Contributions to Anti-Social Behavior
The ethical, social, and legal environment surrounding research on the biological contributions to antisocial behavior in the United States is contentious.

Convergence of Advances in Genomics, Team Science and Repositories as Drivers
Psychiatric genetics has reached an inflection point through a confluence of four key developments: advances in genomics; the orientation of the scientific community around large collaborative team science projects; the development of sample and data repositories; and a policy framework.

PRECREST: A phase II prevention and biomarker trial of creatine in at-risk Huntington disease
Study design preserves subject autonomy when not wanting genetic testing while including controls for assessing treatment effects specificity. Read accompanying editorial here. 

Epigenetic Mechanisms of Depression
Severe stress triggers changes in chromatin in the brain’s limbic regions that drive sustained changes in gene expression,contributing to episodes of depression. 

Returning Pleiotropic Results from Genetic Testing to Patients and Research Participants
Multiple recent guidelines call for reporting of genetic information (including incidental information) that is clinically useful and suggest it is appropriate to withhold information that is inaccurate, yet these guidelines have largely ignored the concept of a single gene or genetic variant affecting multiple phenotypes.

Braingenethics CEER Commentaries


Genetic Information Not Always Benign 

By Paul S. Appelbaun, MD
Ethicists and others have been concerned that the disclosure of genetic information to patients might have negative consequences...
Read the full commentary here

The FDA and 23andMe: Overreaching and overreacting?

By Josephine Johnston, LLB, MBHL

On November 22nd, the FDA sent a Warning Letter to 23andMe ordering it to immediately discontinue marketing and selling its personal DNA testing kits...
Read the full commentary here
Copyright © 2014 Center for Excellence in Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic, and Behavioral Genetics, All rights reserved.

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