‘Genetics have a critical role in mental challenges’ - GulfToday

‘Genetics have a critical role in mental challenges’


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

A Psychiatry assistant professor in Dubai is hopeful that despite Personalised Medicine for “complex mental disorders” being yet remote, studies on possible treatments have been ongoing which in the long run would bring in beneficial breakthroughs.

“For instance, some studies are trying to see whether we can predict which anti-depressant to use. Personalised Medicine aims to tailor treatments based on the individual. In order to reach such personalised interventions, the field is moving towards thinking outside of the box of classical categorical classifications, towards more specific biological markers and precise behavioral measures for early detection and specific interventions,” Dr. Ammar Albanna said on Thursday.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (Dubai Healthcare City) faculty member was interviewed on Thursday; June being  the “Alzheimer’s and Brain Month.”

The physician by profession with subspecialties in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry described mental disorders as “multi-dimensional” or multi-factorial.

“It is important to emphasise that (human) brain is the most complex object in the universe made of billions of cells and trillions of connections,” Albanna also said, adding that mental disorders are the interplay of biological, psychological and social/non-biological aspects.

The non-biological factors are trauma, domestic violence, family dysfunction, low esteem and eating disorders arising from cultural idiosyncrasies and norms.

Genetics too have a critical role to mental challenges and Albanna, to press the point, linked this to anxiety.

Meanwhile, the “Web MD Special” dedicated a read on the “worst foods” for depression and anxiety, a nervous malady characterised by extreme uneasiness, panic attacks, compulsive behavior and apprehension.

The food items are fruit juices, regular and diet soda, toast, light dressings, alcohol, frostings, processed/fried food, refined cereals, coffee, energy drinks, candies, pastries, and high-fat dairy products. These have been evidenced to have strong links to both psychological conditions. Moreover, these food are empty sugars with no nutritive value, some of which “quickly hype you up and bring you down just as fast.”

Pursued as he had mentioned of “genetic tendency for anxiety,” Albanna illustrated this by way of citing job loss as the “stressor”  affecting two people.

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