The past decade has seen billions of dollars spent on identifying genetic risks for psychiatric illness. While considerable progress has been made, it is increasingly clear that genetic vulnerability alone only accounts for a small percentage of psychiatric illness. Additionally, the identified genetic causes for neuropsychiatric disorders are frequently shared across multiple diseases and are rarely fully penetrant, further complicating the role that genetics play in the development of these illnesses. There is a clear need to explore other factors which may explain what genetics alone cannot, including inflammation, infection, and the microbiome.
Mending Minds Foundation’s goal is to explore and resolve one of the greatest puzzles of humankind: Why, and how, do young children develop psychiatric disease? Our method is to include all of the varied pieces of this puzzle that are currently available—genetics, immunity, and the microbiome, in order to provide the clearest picture to date of the mechanism behind two closely related psychiatric disorders: Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infections (PANDAS) and Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome. Our secondary intent is that this mode of analysis may become a model for future investigations of neuropsychiatric disorders in children and adults.