Sunday, March 10, 2013

Calcium: it may just be that simple!

Supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (in the USA), the largest genetic study concludes that autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia are connected.

The connection:  two genes that regulate the flow of calcium into cells.  This research began in 2007, and may lead to more effective treatment.  Early findings with calcium channel blocking drugs, presently used to treat high blood pressure indicate that these drugs may be effective in treating bipolar disorder.

So what is a calcium channel?  I really don’t know, and quite frankly, even with additional research I probably wouldn’t understand.  I do know that I need to drink my milk and eat my broccoli and cheese in order for my bones to be healthy and to get my calcium.  Is it as simple as avoiding mental illness by not drinking milk or eating broccoli?  Obviously not.

But my quandary is this:  given there is more and more research pointing to the fact that mental illness may have a physical biological cause much like diabetes….can we not be more open to discussion about mental illness?

Did you hear this ground breaking story in this week’s news?  Chances are that if this was a step towards a cure for cancer (and no disrespect to cancer patients or cancer survivors and their families) there would be lots of discussion going on.  The burden of mental illness and addictions is more than 1.5 times that of all cancers states a recent Ontario study: http://www.oahpp.ca/opening-eyes-opening-minds/index.html

So even if we don’t understand the genetic studies behind all of this, let’s raise our glass of milk and congratulate the researchers and offer hope to those who suffer with mental illness on a daily basis!


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