A new study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, claims that schizophrenia consists of eight distinct genetic disorders, all of which present their own specific symptoms.
Studies have indicated that rather than being a single disease, schizophrenia is a collection of different disorders. Researchers say they identified specific gene clusters linked to eight different types of schizophrenia, and they all had recognizable symptoms.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by delusions, hallucinations, abnormal thoughts, cognitive problems and agitated body movements. People with a family history of schizophrenia are at a higher risk of developing the condition. 1% of the general population in the US has schizophrenia, but it occurs in around 10% of individuals who have a first-degree relative with the disorder.
For their study, results of which are published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, the team analyzed the genomes of 4,200 people with schizophrenia and 3,800 people that do not have the disorder.
Specifically, they looked at almost 700,000 areas of the genome where a variation occurred in a unit of DNA. Dr. Cloninger and colleagues say they identified specific gene clusters associated with eight types of schizophrenia, all which have recognizable symptoms. For example, the team discovered a gene cluster that posed at 95% risk of schizophrenia, which they specifically linked to delusions and hallucinations. Genes ‘work in concert’ to disturb brain structure and function, causing schizophrenia
The team explains that individual genes linked to schizophrenia only have frail and inconsistent associations with the disorder. But when these genes interrelate and work as clusters, they pose a 70-100% risk of developing schizophrenia, meaning those with such clusters are unlikely to avoid the disorder.
The researchers believe their findings could lead to improved diagnosis and treatments for people with schizophrenia. By identifying genetic variations in people with schizophrenia and linking them to specific symptoms, they say there may be a way to target treatments to specific pathways that contribute to the disorder.
Author: Blaine Pollock
TRPN Founder Blaine Pollock is the creative force behind WorldNewsMD/Depression.net. Mr. Pollock has dedicated his life to providing global healthcare services and education. Blaine is also the author of the newly released Children’s Book “O My Walter’. Find the magical book, ‘O My Walter’ at www.omywalter.com.