Research Breakthrough in Causes of Schizophrenia

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 4, 2015 | Go to article overview

Research Breakthrough in Causes of Schizophrenia


Byline: Philip Dewey Reporter philip.dewey@walesonline.co.uk

ABREAKTHROUGH in the understanding of the causes of schizophrenia has been made by a team of scientists led by researchers from Wales.

The study, led by scientists at Cardiff University, has provided the strongest evidence yet of what causes schizophrenia - a condition that affects around 1% of the global population.

The work, published in the journal Neuron, presents strong evidence that disruption of a delicate chemical balance in the brain is heavily implicated in the disorder.

It is the largest study of its kind, finding that disease-linked mutations disrupt specific sets of genes.

Those mutations can inhibit signalling, the balance of which plays a crucial role in healthy brain development and function.

The breakthrough builds on two landmark studies led by members of the Cardiff University team, published last year in the journal Nature.

Lead author Dr Andrew Pocklington from Cardiff University's MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics said: "We're finally starting to understand what goes wrong in schizophrenia.

"Our study marks a significant step towards understanding the biology underpinning schizophrenia, which 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 sizeable 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.

"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. …

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