Sarah E. Medland's research while affiliated with King's College London and other places

Publications (728)

Preprint
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This study examined arrays offered by commercial pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing services for mental health care in Australia and the United States, with a focus on utility for non-European populations. Seven of the 14 testing services we identified provided the manifests of their arrays. We examined allele frequencies for each variant using data fro...
Article
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Meta-analysis is pervasively used to combine multiple genome-wide association studies (GWASs). Fine-mapping of meta-analysis studies is typically performed as in a single-cohort study. Here, we first demonstrate that heterogeneity (e.g., of sample size, phenotyping, imputation) hurts calibration of meta-analysis fine-mapping. We propose a summary s...
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Genetic associations with macroscopic brain structure can provide insights into brain function and disease. However, specific associations with measures of local brain folding are largely under-explored. Here, we conducted large-scale genome- and exome-wide associations of regional cortical sulcal measures derived from magnetic resonance imaging sc...
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Common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are predicted to collectively explain 40–50% of phenotypic variation in human height, but identifying the specific variants and associated regions requires huge sample sizes¹. Here, using data from a genome-wide association study of 5.4 million individuals of diverse ancestries, we show that 12,111 inde...
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Biobanks facilitate genome-wide association studies (GWASs), which have mapped genomic loci across a range of human diseases and traits. However, most biobanks are primarily composed of individuals of European ancestry. We introduce the Global Biobank Meta-analysis Initiative (GBMI)—a collaborative network of 23 biobanks from 4 continents represent...
Article
Despite the substantial heritability of antisocial behavior (ASB), specific genetic variants robustly associated with the trait have not been identified. The present study by the Broad Antisocial Behavior Consortium (BroadABC) meta-analyzed data from 28 discovery samples (N = 85,359) and five independent replication samples (N = 8058) with genotypi...
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Although physical activity and sedentary behavior are moderately heritable, little is known about the mechanisms that influence these traits. Combining data for up to 703,901 individuals from 51 studies in a multi-ancestry meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies yields 99 loci that associate with self-reported moderate-to-vigorous intensit...
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Objectives: This study sought to evaluate the prevalence, timing of onset and duration of symptoms of depression in the perinatal period (PND) in women with depression, according to whether they had a history of depression prior to their first perinatal period. We further sought to identify biopsychosocial correlates of perinatal symptoms in women...
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Background Body mass index (BMI) shows strong continuity over childhood and adolescence and high childhood BMI is the strongest predictor of adult obesity. Genetic factors strongly contribute to this continuity, but it is still poorly known how their contribution changes over childhood and adolescence. Thus, we used the genetic twin design to estim...
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We tested the causality between education and smoking using the natural experiment of discordant twin pairs allowing to optimally control for background genetic and childhood social factors. Data from 18 cohorts including 10,527 monozygotic (MZ) and same-sex dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs discordant for education and smoking were analyzed by linear fixe...
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Emergence of suicidal symptoms has been reported as a potential antidepressant adverse drug reaction. Identifying risk factors associated could increase our understanding of this phenomenon and stratify individuals at higher risk. Logistic regressions were used to identify risk factors of self‐reported treatment‐attributed suicidal ideation (TASI)....
Poster
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Human pigmentation traits are highly heritable, with common and rare genetic polymorphisms contributing to the variation in eye, skin and hair colour [1-4] and accounting for a substantial proportion of the risk of cutaneous melanocytic nevi (moles) and malignant melanoma [5]. While the major genes influencing eye, skin and hair color are now large...
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Migraine is a highly common and debilitating disorder that often affects individuals in their most productive years of life. Previous studies have identified both genetic variants and brain morphometry differences associated with migraine risk. However, the relationship between migraine and brain morphometry has not been examined on a genetic level...
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Background: Subthreshold/attenuated syndromes are established precursors of full-threshold mood and psychotic disorders. Less is known about the individual symptoms that may precede the development of subthreshold syndromes and associated social/functional outcomes among emerging adults. Methods: We modeled two dynamic Bayesian networks (DBN) to...
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Objective: Recent work has shown that people with common epilepsies have characteristic patterns of cortical thinning, and that these changes may be progressive over time. Leveraging a large multicenter cross-sectional cohort, we investigated whether regional morphometric changes occur in a sequential manner, and whether these changes in people wi...
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Biological essentialism, the belief that human attributes are determined by biology, is a core component of essentialist thinking. Previous studies have shown that individual differences in essentialist thinking are associated with heuristic thinking, cognitive ability and style, conservative values, and prejudice. None, however, have examined whet...
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Estimates from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of unrelated individuals capture effects of inherited variation (direct effects), demography (population stratification, assortative mating) and relatives (indirect genetic effects). Family-based GWAS designs can control for demographic and indirect genetic effects, but large-scale family datase...
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Small average differences in the left-right asymmetry of cerebral cortical thickness have been reported in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared to typically developing controls, affecting widespread cortical regions. The possible impacts of these regional alterations in terms of structural network effects have not previously bee...
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Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a devastating disorder with evidence of underexplored heritability. Twin and family studies estimate heritability (h2) to be 57%–64%, and genome‐wide association studies (GWAS) reveal significant genetic correlations with psychiatric and anthropometric traits and a total of nine genome‐wide significant loci. Whether signifi...
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Human brain structure changes throughout the lifespan. Altered brain growth or rates of decline are implicated in a vast range of psychiatric, developmental and neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we identified common genetic variants that affect rates of brain growth or atrophy in what is, to our knowledge, the first genome-wide association...
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We conduct a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of educational attainment (EA) in a sample of ~3 million individuals and identify 3,952 approximately uncorrelated genome-wide-significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A genome-wide polygenic predictor, or polygenic index (PGI), explains 12–16% of EA variance and contributes to risk predi...
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Handedness has low heritability and epigenetic mechanisms have been proposed as an etiological mechanism. To examine this hypothesis, we performed an epigenome-wide association study of left-handedness. In a meta-analysis of 3914 adults of whole-blood DNA methylation, we observed that CpG sites located in proximity of handedness-associated genetic...
Article
Objective Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder affects over 5% of children and is characterised by a persistent pattern of problems with focussing or maintaining attention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity. The censusADHD Study is a richly phenotyped nationwide cohort of Australian children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The over...
Preprint
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Left-right asymmetry is an important organizing feature of the healthy brain that may be altered in schizophrenia, but most studies have used relatively small samples and heterogeneous approaches, resulting in equivocal findings. We carried out the largest case-control study of structural brain asymmetries in schizophrenia, using MRI data from 5,08...
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Background Distinctions between major depressive disorder (MDD) and perinatal depression (PND) reflect varying views of PND, from a unique etiological subtype of MDD to an MDD episode that happens to coincide with childbirth. This case–control study investigated genetic differences between PND and MDD outside the perinatal period (non-perinatal dep...
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Background Variation within the CYP2C19 gene has been linked to differential metabolism of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Pharmacogenetic recommendations based on the effect of CYP2C19 variants have been made available and are used increasingly by clinical practitioners. Nonetheless, the underlying assumption linking differential...
Preprint
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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent childhood psychiatric disorder, with a major genetic component. Here we present a GWAS meta-analysis of ADHD comprising 38,691 individuals with ADHD and 186,843 controls. We identified 27 genome-wide significant loci, which is more than twice the number previously reported. Fine-mapping...
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Purpose Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with progressive disability. While the precise aetiology is unknown, there is evidence of significant genetic and environmental influences on individual risk. The Australian Parkinson’s Genetics Study seeks to study genetic and patient-reported data from a large cohort of i...
Preprint
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Previous Mendelian randomization (MR) studies using population samples (population-MR) have provided evidence for beneficial effects of educational attainment on health outcomes in adulthood. However, estimates from these studies may have been susceptible to bias from population stratification, assortative mating and indirect genetic effects due to...
Article
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The Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis copy number variant (ENIGMA-CNV) and 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome Working Groups (22q-ENIGMA WGs) were created to gain insight into the involvement of genetic factors in human brain development and related cognitive, psychiatric and behavioral manifestations. To that end, the ENIGMA-CNV WG has...
Article
Disrupted iron homeostasis is associated with several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), and may be partially modulated by genetic risk factors. Here we evaluated whether subcortical iron deposition is associated with ApoE genotype, which substantially affects risk for late-onset AD. We evaluated differences in subcorti...
Chapter
Twin studies are the archetypical study designs in quantitative genetic investigations of anthropometrical, behavioral, and health traits. These designs aim to estimate the extent to which individual differences in complex traits or phenotypes result from genetic and environmental influences. This chapter describes how the heritability of a trait c...
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Age at first sexual intercourse and age at first birth have implications for health and evolutionary fitness. In this genome-wide association study (age at first sexual intercourse, N = 387,338; age at first birth, N = 542,901), we identify 371 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, 11 sex-specific, with a 5–6% polygenic score prediction. Heritability of...
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Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a complex psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorder that develops during childhood and spans into adulthood. ADHD’s aetiology is complex, and evidence about its cause and risk factors is limited. We leveraged genetic data from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and performed latent causal var...
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Background Major depression is one of the most disabling health conditions internationally. In recent years, new generation antidepressant medicines have become very widely prescribed. While these medicines are efficacious, side effects are common and frequently result in discontinuation of treatment. Compared with specific pharmacological properti...
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Imaging genetics analyses use neuroimaging traits as intermediate phenotypes to infer the degree of genetic contribution to brain structure and function in health and/or illness. Coefficients of relatedness (CR) summarize the degree of genetic similarity among subjects and are used to estimate the heritability - the proportion of phenotypic varianc...
Article
Comparing twins from same- and opposite-sex pairs can provide information on potential sex differences in a variety of outcomes, including socioeconomic-related outcomes such as educational attainment. It has been suggested that this design can be applied to examine the putative role of intrauterine exposure to testosterone for educational attainme...
Article
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a number of risk loci for cutaneous melanoma. Cutaneous melanoma shares overlapping genetic risk (genetic correlation) with a number of other traits, including with its risk factors such as sunburn propensity. This genetic correlation can be exploited to identify additional cutaneous melanoma r...
Article
Background Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and highly heterogeneous psychiatric disorder but little is known about the genetic characterisation of this heterogeneity. Understanding the genetic etiology of MDD can be challenging as large sample sizes are needed for gene discovery – often achieved with a trade-off in the depth phenotyping...
Preprint
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Samples can be prone to ascertainment and attrition biases.The Australian Genetics of Depression Study is a large publicly recruited cohort (n=20,689) established to increase the understanding of depression and antidepressant treatment response. As part of the recruitment, participants donated a saliva sample and were given the option to consent to...
Preprint
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a heritable disorder, but no definitive, replicated OCD susceptibility loci have yet been identified by any genome-wide association study (GWAS). Here, we report results from a GWAS in the largest OCD case-control sample (N = 14,140 OCD cases and N = 562,117 controls) to date. We explored the genetic architect...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite the substantial heritability of antisocial behavior (ASB), specific genetic variants robustly associated with the trait have not been identified. The present study by the Broad Antisocial Behavior Consortium (BroadABC) meta-analyzed data from 25 discovery samples (N=85,359) and five independent replication samples (N = 8,058) with genotypic...
Preprint
Full-text available
The human brain is a complex organ underlying many cognitive and physiological processes, affected by a wide range of diseases. Genetic associations with macroscopic brain structure are emerging, providing insights into genetic sources of brain variability and risk for functional impairments and disease. However, specific associations with measures...
Article
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Depression and anxiety are highly prevalent and comorbid psychiatric traits that cause considerable burden worldwide. Here we use factor analysis and genomic structural equation modelling to investigate the genetic factor structure underlying 28 items assessing depression, anxiety and neuroticism, a closely related personality trait. Symptoms of de...
Article
Importance Most previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of depression have used data from individuals of European descent. This limits the understanding of the underlying biology of depression and raises questions about the transferability of findings between populations. Objective To investigate the genetics of depression among individual...
Article
Our beliefs about the heritability of psychiatric traits may influence how we respond to the use of genetic information in this area. In the present study, we aim to inform future education campaigns as well as genetic counseling interventions by exploring common fears and misunderstandings associated with learning about genetic predispositions for...
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Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with an increased risk of brain atrophy, aging-related diseases, and mortality. We examined potential advanced brain aging in adult MDD patients, and whether this process is associated with clinical characteristics in a large multicenter international dataset. We performed a mega-analysis by pooling bra...
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We test whether genetic influences that explain individual differences in aggression in early life also explain individual differences across the life-course. In two cohorts from The Netherlands ( N = 13,471) and Australia ( N = 5628), polygenic scores (PGSs) were computed based on a genome-wide meta-analysis of childhood/adolescence aggression. In...
Article
Objective Genetic factors underpin the narrow intraindividual variability of thyroid function, although precise contributions of environmental versus genetic factors remain uncertain. We sought to clarify the heritability of thyroid function traits and thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) positivity and identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs...
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Background Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide, and non-fatal suicide attempts, which occur far more frequently, are a major source of disability and social and economic burden. Both have substantial genetic etiology, which is partially shared and partially distinct from that of related psychiatric disorders. Methods We conducted a genom...
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Reproductive longevity is essential for fertility and influences healthy ageing in women1,2, but insights into its underlying biological mechanisms and treatments to preserve it are limited. Here we identify 290 genetic determinants of ovarian ageing, assessed using normal variation in age at natural menopause (ANM) in about 200,000 women of Europe...
Article
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified genetic variants associated with brain morphology and substance use behaviors (SUB). However, the genetic overlap between brain structure and SUB has not been well characterized. We leveraged GWAS summary data of 71 brain imaging measures and alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use to investigate th...
Article
Importance: Genetic studies with broad definitions of depression may not capture genetic risk specific to major depressive disorder (MDD), raising questions about how depression should be operationalized in future genetic studies. Objective: To use a large, well-phenotyped single study of MDD to investigate how different definitions of depressio...
Article
Study question Do modifiable risk factors such as smoking, alcohol or coffee consumption, and adiposity causally increase the risk of sporadic or recurrent miscarriage? Summary answer We found evidence for a causal relationship between smoking initiation and sporadic miscarriage, but not for any other risk factor tested. What is known already Mis...