Sunday, April 3, 2016

Schizophrenia Breakthrough

What causes schizophrenia?

It is a chronic and a severe psychological brain disorder that affects the person's ability to think, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. It is characterized abnormal social behavior where patients may see or hear things that aren't real. Now, for the first time researchers from Harvard Medical School found possible cause of the illness. They have discovered a gene called complement gene 4 (C4) that triggers schizophrenia and the mechanisms behind it.  Researcher McCarroll performed a experiment to understand the structure of the C4 gene in the DNA samples of individuals who had schizoprenia 29,000 and 36,000 did not. They noticed a significant variation in the structure of the gene that differ among those 2 groups. The results show a correlation between the C4 gene and  schizophrenia.

In order to gain more understanding of the C4 gene researchers used mice to study the pruning of synapses. Synaptic pruning is the gradual process by which eliminates the multiple synapse  connections and weakens during late adolescence or early adulthood. The team found greater C4 gene activity as they experience synpatic pruning. Hence, C4 gene might support the understanding of schizophrenia development and the symptoms provoking the onset. This finding led a major breakthrough for the cause of schizphrenia. This will help doctors and health professionals  develop better preventative therapies and treatment for the disorder.

Personally, I am glad I've come across this article because schizophrenia has always been a challenge to understand and the prognosis of it. About 21 million across the globe have this disorder because of the early onset. Due to this research, scientists can answer more questions to understand and determine the underlying issues related to schizophrenia


  1. Wow, this is such an amazing discovery! Just thinking about the history of schizophrenia and how patients were treated and all of the insane "treatments" doctors and psychiatrists put these patients through just to end up discovering that it is a genetic mutation. Hopefully, with gene therapy those diagnosed with schizophrenia can get proper treatment and maybe even get the mutation reversed!

  2. Amanda that is very true, gene therapy can be a great method to help manipulate the sequencing of the DNA and pull out the errors in the gene so that doctors can know before hand if an individual will be diagnosed with schizophrenia.