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Former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, call it “the most significant mechanistic study about schizophrenia ever.” He told the Washington Post, “I’m a crusty, old, curmudgeonly skeptic,” he said. “But I’m almost giddy about these findings. For the first time, scientists have pinned down a molecular process in the brain that helps to trigger schizophrenia,” and the discovery is being hailed as “ground-breaking.”
“The incredible findings, which were “published in the journal Nature, say the discovery of this new genetic pathway seems to reveals what happens neurologically when a young person is diagnosed with the disorder.” The Researchers, which are predominantly from Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital, and The Broad Institute, have found that “a person’s risk of schizophrenia is dramatically increased if they inherit variants of a gene important to “synaptic pruning” — the healthy reduction during adolescence of brain cell connections that are no longer needed.”
According to the study, patients with schizophrenia may have “a variation of a single position in the DNA sequence which marks too many synapses to be removed” causing the pruning process to get out of control. This would result in an abnormal amount of loss to the grey matter in the brain.
More than 25 million people around the globe are affected by schizophrenia, according to the World Health Organization, including 2 million to 3 million Americans.
Article/Video: Washington Post