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A $650 Million Donation for Psychiatric Research

Stashed in: Brain, Psychology!, Philanthropy!, Depression, Brain, Autism

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One of the largest private gifts ever for psychiatric research, to the Broad Institute in Cambridge MA. The money comes from the founder of the Danbury Mint, which sells commemorative coins and stamps.

They're closer to understanding some brain disorders than I realized.

Broad Institute officials hope that Mr. Stanley’s donation will change that, and they timed their announcement to coincide with the publication of the largest analysis to date on the genetics of schizophrenia.

The analysis, reported by the journal Nature on Monday, identified more than 100 regions of DNA associated with the disease. Many of them contain genes involved in just a few biological functions, like pumping calcium into neurons, that could help guide the search for treatments.


Other research teams are making progress on other conditions, such as bipolar disorder and autism, and finding that some mutations are rare while others are common variants.

On Sunday, an international team of scientists reported a study in Nature Genetics in which they compared 466 autistic people to 2,580 others. They found that most of the genetic risk of autism involved common mutations.

But these studies of brain disorders are also revealing a deep complexity that could pose an obstacle to rapid progress to effective drugs.

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