|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
National Institute of Mental Health
|Videocast: Gene Shapes Efficiency
of Brain’s "Executive"
||The unfolding story of how a common version of a gene shapes
the efficiency of the brain’s prefrontal cortex — hub of “executive” functions
like reasoning, planning and impulse control — and increases risk
for mental illness will be told by Daniel R. Weinberger, M.D., at this
year’s G. Burroughs Mider Lecture, “Complex Genetics in the Human Brain:
Lessons from COMT.”
||The lecture will be broadcast live on the web and later
archived at http://videocast.nih.gov.
||October 12, 2005, 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET.
||Building 10, Jack Masur Auditorium, National Institutes
of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland, or http://videocast.nih.gov.
More Information: Weinberger will explain why such psychiatric genetics
has proven to be a daunting challenge, using as an example the gene that codes for
catecho-O-methyltransferase (COMT), the enzyme that breaks down the chemical messenger
dopamine. A tiny variation in its sequence results in different versions of the gene.
One leads to more efficient functioning of the prefrontal cortex, the other to less
efficient prefrontal functioning and slightly increased risk for schizophrenia. New
studies are revealing complex interactions between the tiny glitch and other variations
within the gene, and with environmental events, such as teenage marijuana use, that
may bias the brain toward psychosis.
Weinberger is Director of the Genes, Cognition and Psychosis Program at the NIH’s
National Institute of Mental Health. The program uses brain imaging, post-mortem analysis
and molecular approaches to understand how genes work in the brain to produce schizophrenia.
Who Should Attend: Science and medical reporters, interested public.
Hosts: National Institutes of Health.
Note to Editors: Webcast url: http://videocast.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes
27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting basic,
clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments,
and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its
programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.
NIH Record story: http://www.nih.gov/nihrecord/2005/10072005Record.pdf#nameddest=story4.