Monday, June 29, 2015

Have scientists discovered what causes schizophrenia? Condition may occur because 'gene mutations disrupt chemical balance of the brain'

That is the title of this article I am writing about. "Schizophrenia may be caused by mutations in genes which disrupt the chemical balance in the brain, according to new research.  Scientists say the study produces the 'strongest evidence yet' of what causes the condition, which affects around one per cent of the global population.  They found people with schizophrenia had mutations in their DNA.  These in turn, disrupted genes involved in the transmission of chemical messengers across the brain. The balance of the messengers plays a crucial role in ensuring the brain develops healthily and functions normally.  Some chemical messengers, known as neurotransmitters, 'excite' brain cells into an action, whereas other 'inhibit' the activity of cells, Disruptions to neurotransmitters can therefore change whether cells function, and researchers believe this may be what causes schizophrenia.  They called the finding a 'breakthrough' and said they hoped it could help develop new treatments for the disease. 'We're finally starting to understand what goes wrong in schizophrenia,' said lead author Dr Andrew Pocklington, of Cardiff University."  Well they always said it was a chemical imbalance so I guess they are right.  Now we can hope for better treatments I hope.
The article goes on to say: "What is Schizophrenia?  Schizoprhenia is a long-term mental health condition that causes a range of different psychological symptoms, including: hallucinations-hearing or seeing things that do not exist, delusions - unusual beliefs not based on reality that often contradict the evidence, muddled thoughts based on hallucinations of delusions, changes in behavior.  Doctors often describe schizophrenia as a psychotic illness.  This means sometimes a person may not be able to distinguish their own thoughts and ideas from reality. 'Our study marks a significant step towards understanding the biology underpinning schizophrenia.  'It is an incredibly complex condition and has up until very recently kept scientists largely mystified as to its origins.  ' We now have what we hope is a pretty sizable piece of the jigsaw puzzle that will help us develop a coherent model of the disease, while helping us to rule out some of the alternatives.  He added: ' A reliable model of disease is urgently needed to direct future efforts in developing new treatments, which haven't really improved a great deal since the 1970s.'  The first evidence that schizophrenia mutations interfere with excitatory signaling was uncovered in 2011 by the same team.  The new paper not only confirms the previous findings, but also provides the first strong genetic evidence that disruption of genes controlling the actions of chemical messengers contributes to the disorder." I remember when I could not understand reality and also what was happening to me.  I had never had anything like that happen before.
The article ends with: "To reach their conclusions, scientists compared the genetic data of 11,355 patients with schizophrenia against a control group of 16,416 people with the condition.  They looked for types of mutation known as copy number variants (CNVs), mutations in which large stretches of DNA are either deleted or duplicated.  The team compared the CNVs found in people with schizophrenia to those found in unaffected people.  They found the mutations in individuals with the disorder tended to disrupt genes involved in specific aspects of brain function.  These types of mutations are also suspected to be involved in other neurodevelopmental disorders such as intellectual disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD.  Around 635,000 people in the UK will at some stage in their lives be affected by schizophrenia.  The estimated cost of schizophrenia and psychosis to society  is around  11.8 billion a year.  Schizophrenia can cause hallucinations, delusions, muddled thoughts and changes in behavior.  The symptoms can be extremely disruptive, and have a large impact on a person's ability to carry out everyday tasks, such as going to work, maintaining relationships and caring for themselves of others." Lets hope they figure this out soon.  I like to know before I die that the people after me that have this disease can lead as a good of life as I have with this disease or better.

1 comment:

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