Do you recommend finding out if your children carry the risk genes that can predispose to different mental illnesses? Is it better to know―and if so, what does one do with that information?

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Judith L. Rapoport, M.D., expert on schizophrenia

There are genes in general which so far have not been helpful to measure in most situations, except on a research basis. There are starting to be discoveries of several different, missing or duplicated pieces of chromosomes, called copy number variants or CNVs (which may contain 1-40 genes), that are associated with autism, schizophrenia, intellectual disability and epilepsy—that is they are not specific. Research is addressing how great a risk these are for illness, but it is too soon to tell.

 

Judith L. Rapoport, M.D.
Chief, Child Psychiatry Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
2002 Foundation Ruane Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research
2009 NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grantee
Foundation Scientific Council Member