Schizophrenia News: February 2014

  • This month's Schizophrenia News will focus on primary genetic research.

     

    It's time to put to rest the mad myth that schizophrenia and bipolar and other mental illnesses are not real illnesses and that psychiatry is a pseudo-science.

     

    It's time to recognize that lived experience of people diagnosed with schizophrenia is as valid as the experience of psychiatric survivors.

     

    Those of us living every day with schizophrenia certainly know what we're talking about.  The lack of compassion coming from the Mad crowd for individuals that need to take medication is truly inconceivable.

     

    I'll be the first to admit that not every mental health challenge requires medication.

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    Yet for those symptoms that are best treated with medication, as the first line of defense with initial therapy, we cannot deny that often the difference between suffering permanent disability and living a full and robust life comes down to popping pills.

     

    I'm going to quote "Rick," Rick Brucato: a Behavioral Neuroscientist:

     

    "The genetic evidence for a biological cause to schizophrenia is very strong. It is true that aversive “bad” stress and reinforcing “good” stress are both a type of stress, as such they are risk factors. Positive “good” stress is also a risk factor in bipolar disorder, as is “bad” stress.

     

    Regardless of any potential environmental contributions to schizophrenia, the case for a genetic, biological basis is very strong. Antipsychotics and other medications that help manage schizophrenia are designed based on neurobiological substrates and perturbations unique to schizophrenia. The drugs target receptors and signal transduction pathways etc., that are unique to alterations in dopamine and other transmitters. The reason meds have improved over the years is because they more selectively target critical receptors. Effective meds are all based on the unique biology to a person afflicted with schizophrenia.

     

    Is there room for improvement? Yes, making effective drugs is much harder than almost anyone realizes.  But the genetic linkage studies, the twin studies all confirm the primary genetic basis to schizophrenia. Yes there are environmental factors, but they in no way supersede genetic background. PubMed and Medline are the best sources of trustworthy information."

     

    This month's Schizophrenia News will examine the genetic link to schizophrenia.

     

    According to an international team of researchers, they've discovered the cause of schizophrenia is even more complex than already believed.  Rare gene mutations contribute to the disorder.

     

    Two studies published in the journal Nature indicate that schizophrenia arises from the combined effects of many genes.  The researchers catalogued blood DNA taken from 6,948 people in Bulgaria and Sweden.  Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, their parents and healthy controls were used. 

     

    Annabel Bligh of theconversation.com reports:

     

    "Scientists were able to pinpoint the sites of gene mutations and identify patterns that reveal clues about the biology underlying schizophrenia."

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    The two studies confirmed the genetic basis of schizophrenia is tremendously complex.  Rather than finding only a few faulty genes, the data shows a very large number of rare genetic mutations contribute to risk of developing this illness..

     

    The two studies are the result of the largest genetic study of its kind.

     

    Participating scientists hailed from nine different institutions including Cardiff University and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

     

    More than 3,000 affected individuals' clinical and genetic information was gathered, producing the world's largest database on schizophrenia.

     

    The new gene mutations observed cluster in the same way for individuals who inherited the illness.

     

    Quoted from Bligh's report:

     

    "This confirms that schizophrenia is inherently the same however it develops."

     

    (The genetics behind schizophrenia just got more complex, retrieved on January 26, 2014 from http://theconversation.com/the-genetics-behind-schizphrenia...)

     

Published On: February 03, 2014