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Are Genes responsible for Schizophrenia?

 28 July 2014
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Are Genes responsible for Schizophrenia?

A massive gene trawl has linked over 100 DNA coding mutations to schizophrenia, yielding critical clues about what causes the illness and possibly how to treat it, scientists said on Tuesday.

Using more than 80,000 genetic samples from schizophrenia patients and healthy volunteers, an international team of researchers found 128 variants 83 of them new associated with a higher risk for people who carry them.

The number of mutations, discovered in 108 regions of the genome, is large enough that scientists are starting to see patterns, according to research published in the journal Nature.

We can group them into identifiable pathways which genes are known to work together to perform specific functions in the brain,” said study co-author Stephan Ripke of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Broad Institute. “This is helping us to understand the biology of schizophrenia.”
The disorder affects about 24 million people in the world, and is characterised by hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and a breakdown of thought processes. Symptoms typically start between the ages of 15 and 35.


Treatment is available but for many has limited effect as it addresses only the psychotic symptoms of the disorder and not its debilitating cognitive effects, according to a Broad Institute statement.
There has been little innovation in drug development in more than 60 years, in part “because the biological mechanisms underlying schizophrenia have not been understood, the statement said. The study involved more than 300 scientists from 35 countries.
Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a challenging disorder that makes it difficult to distinguish between what is real and unreal, think clearly, manage emotions, relate to others, and function normally.
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