Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Scientists find new genetic roots of Schizophrenia

UCLA scientists have made a major development in understanding the biology of schizophrenia. While analyzing DNA, the scientists found tons of genes and two major biological pathways that are most likely involved in the development of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a chronic, disabling mental illness whose symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions and cognitive problems. The illness affects about one percent of Americans. The cause of schizophrenia is not fully understood. Current medications can help reduce the symptoms, but they do not cure the disorder. The study is expected to have an impact beyond schizophrenia research because it shows a general and powerful new strategy for revealing the mechanisms of human disease.

Schizophrenia has been known to be very genetic; it often runs in families. A large genome-wide association study of individuals with schizophrenia, linked the disorder to small DNA variations at more than one hundred different locations on the human genome. Most of those locations lie outside of the actual genes, so their roles in schizophrenia have been unclear. Schizophrenia is a disorder that is known to be abnormal in the cerebral cortex. In the study, the genes linked to schizophrenia include some for brain cell receptors that are activated by the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Variations in the functions of these receptors can help create schizophrenia.

As more studies explain the roles of these genes in schizophrenia, scientists will get a greater understanding of how the disorder develops. I am glad scientists are trying to understand the causes of schizophrenia. Through this, they should eventually be able to develop more effective treatments and be able to alleviate the symptoms from people who are suffering from it.

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