Estonian Genome Center starts study to find causes of mental illness

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Lili Milani Source: Ülo Josing/ERR

The University of Tartu's Estonian Genome Center has started a unique study to bring clarity to the causes of mental illnesses with the help of gene donors. The results will create a basis for developing personalized medicine solutions.

All gene donors can participate in the study from March 15 to April 18 and it is hoped 200,000 gene donors will participate by filling in an online survey.

"The contribution of every gene donor is important because analyzing as much diverse information as possible enables us to better understand why there are such big differences in people's mental health," one of the leaders of the study, Associate Professor of Neuropsychiatric Genetics, Kelli Lahto, said.

The study's associate leader Professor Lili Milani said medicine is moving in a direction where a prevention or treatment plan is found for every person individually.

"The study will help to identify unknown associations between mental health issues and genes which will help to take the next step in health development, which is characterized by personalization and effective usage of the health care sector's resources," she said.

Clinical psychologist Anna-Kaisa Oidermaa has said approximately 50 percent of people face a mental health issue during their life. Depression, anxiety, focusing difficulties, restless sleep become more and more frequent.

All gene donors can participate in the study. Lehto said that it does not matter if the donor has mental health problems or not.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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