Researchers Take Big Steps Towards Understanding Causes of Schizophrenia
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Jun 20, 2016
Schizophrenia can be one of the most challenging diseases to live with, for both the person who has the disease as well as that individual’s friends and family. Characterized by hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking and motor behaviors, and emotional detachment, according to the Mayo Clinic, understanding the root cause of schizophrenia is something that researchers have struggled with for years. Now, a groundbreaking study may provide insight regarding the biological basis behind the psychological disorder.
Starting from the Beginning
While the study does not mean new treatment or new drugs for patients– these things are likely years off in the future – it does provide a solid starting point from which researchers can move forward.
Researchers who conducted the study found that those who carry a certain gene that affects syntactic pruning – a process that occurs during adolescence maturation where the brain sheds weak connections between neurons – may be at a higher risk of developing schizophrenia. In fact, the scientists found that it appears the syntactic pruning process may be what kicks off schizophrenia; something goes wrong during this process, resulting in a smaller number of neural connections in an affected individual’s prefrontal cortex. In other words, the brains of those who have schizophrenia appear to be over-pruned.
Researchers believe that the gene that might be the driving force behind the change in what is known as C4-A. Evidence shows that too much C4-A leads to abnormal pruning during maturation. This is likely why the first signs of schizophrenia are seen during a person’s teenage years.
What the Study Means for Those with Schizophrenia
As stated above, the information is a long way off from developing medications or other treatment options to prevent or treat schizophrenia; while scientists believe that the gene above may be the cause, there is still more research to be done to confirm the suspicion. Dr. Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute, one of the parties who worked on the study, told The New York Times that, “We’re all very excited and proud of this work, but I’m not ready to call it a victory until we have something that can help patients.”
Personal Injury Attorneys Serving the States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania
At the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., we are interested in staying abreast of the latest medical research and the implications for patients. We are excited to see what this latest study could mean for helping patients cope with such a challenging condition.
While schizophrenia is a psychological disorder and not a physical ailment, it is important that you know that psychologists too can be held liable for medical malpractice. If you believe that you may be a victim of psychiatric malpractice, call our experienced team members today at (215) 567-3500, or contact our offices using our online form. A consultation with our attorneys is always free of charge – learn more about how we can help you today.