New funds jump-start mental illness research

What will happen in the field of serious mental illness when human need, scientific progress and a major influx of funding converge? Scientists on Tuesday predicted that the world could see the same kind of progress in understanding schizophrenia and bipolar disorder that’s been seen in the last decade in the fight against cancer.

That, in turn, could lead to better treatments, earlier diagnosis and more opportunities to head off the emergence of full-blown psychological illness in those at greatest risk.

Such a path forward became evident Tuesday with two new developments: the publication of a scientific article identifying 108 locations on the human genome associated with the risk of developing schizophrenia – the largest-ever genome-association study focused on mental illness – and the announcement of a philanthropist’s $650-million commitment to fuel the search for mental illnesses’ biological underpinnings.

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