Researchers have identified a new genetic link to schizophrenia
Researchers have found differences in some genes that dramatically increase the risk of developing schizophrenia in some people.
For most people with schizophrenia, a wide range of other genes are involved, a serious brain disorder that includes confusion, confusion, and inability to function. But for some people with mutations in 10 genes identified in a new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, the risk is 10, 20 and 50 times higher.
According to Tarjinder Singh of MIT and the Broad Institute at Harvard, the findings could one day lead to advances in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease, according to Tarjinder Singh, the study’s lead author, who worked for many years. Dozens of research institutes around the world.
“It’s a biological sign that leads to better treatments,” Singh said in an interview. “But the main thing is, we haven’t had any meaningful signals for a long time.”
Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer of the nationwide advocacy group National Alliance on Mental Illness, said the study was a significant development in the underlying neuroscience of schizophrenia. But he said it was difficult to say how quickly such basic research would benefit people living with the disease.
“This is a big step for science that could provide long-term returns for people with schizophrenia and those who live with them,” Duckworth said. But, he said, “If it was a 17-inning game and they got us from the first to the second inning, how could anyone benefit today?”
Less than 1 percent of the US population is considered to have schizophrenia, which is usually treated with a range of powerful antipsychotic drugs. According to new research, this disease shortens life expectancy by about 15 years.
Along with other factors such as the environment, scientists have long since identified the genetic component of the disease.
The task of isolating these genes could not have been completed 10 or 15 years ago, Singh said, adding that such genetic intelligence could be used in laboratories around the world before the sequence of the human genome and the spread of technology.
The current effort involves sorting out the exomes of 24,248 people with schizophrenia and 97,322 people without the disease – a functional part of the larger human genome.
According to the research, the results showed extremely rare differences in 10 genes and indicated the involvement of 22 more genes. Some genes also appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorders and other intellectual development disorders, Singh said.
Mutations in genes that are thought to cause schizophrenia cause neurons in the brain to communicate in synapses, a small space between them. Problems with that “glutamatergic system” in schizophrenia are suspect.
“Despite these advances, it is clear that we are still in the early stages of gene discovery,” the authors wrote. “… These emerging genetic findings will go some way to directing and motivating mechanical studies that unravel disease biology.”