Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects approximately 1% of the population, and those who have a severe form of schizophrenia may find that the symptoms can be devastating. Recently there was new research which was published in American Journal of Psychiatry which has caused researchers to suggest that this is actually 8 different diseases instead of a single form of mental illness. This mental illness can be hereditary and that has led medical researchers to try and uncover the genes responsible, and the results were surprising even to the researchers. What they discovered in the study is that this condition may actually be eight different diseases instead of just one, and each form has it’s own symptoms. UK based Cardiff University School of Medicine researchers identify 108 genes which had a link to schizophrenia, and 83 of these genes were only recently discovered.
The research on schizophrenia and the recent advancements in identifying genes linked to the mental disorder show real promise for future treatments Professor Michael O’Donovan, who was the study co-author, warned about getting too excited just yet though. “Genetics only provides pointers to aspects of biology, but other research is needed to follow up those pointers and translate that into a detailed understanding of disease mechanisms. So by providing lots of genetic clues, we have provided an unprecedented number of openings to study the biology of the disorder.” Igor Zwir, another co-author who is associated with the University of Granada, stated “Genes do not operate on their own, in an isolated manner. They rather work with each other as an orchestra. To understand how they work, we must not just know what each member of this orchestra is like, but also how they interact with each other. In the past, scientists had searched for associations between individual genes and schizophrenia. What was lacking was the idea that these genes do not act independently, but that they work as a group instead, to disturb the structure and the functions of the brain, thus causing the disease.”