Behaviour and brain function
Many conditions with a genetic link affect the brain or behaviour – including autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (manic depression). There are a wide range of disorders, however, that cause distinctive alterations in behaviour (including the examples below). Studies of people with these disorders can shed light on brain function.
|Tourette syndrome||Williams–Beuren syndrome (Williams syndrome)|
|People with Tourette syndrome have characteristic, semi-involuntary tics such as sudden, rapid movements (eg blinking or sniffing) and verbal tics (eg shouting or swearing).||Children with Williams–Beuren syndrome have a characteristic elﬁn-like face, and tend to have a degree of developmental delay and some learning disorders.|
|People seem unable to suppress unconscious thoughts or reﬂex-driven movement, possibly due to disrupted communication between the prefrontal cortex and other areas of the brain.||They frequently have a love of music and are polite and friendly by nature, often being overly trusting of strangers.|
|Recent research has shown that a gene called SLITRK1 involved in brain development is disrupted in a small number of cases.||Recent research suggests the syndrome is caused by loss of a chunk of chromosome 7, which typically removes 28 genes.|
Alfred Anwander, MPI-CBS/Wellcome Images