A new study recently published in Nature Genetics has paved the way to beginning to understand how gene mutations predispose one to schizophrenia. The international study, led by Guy A. Rouleau, MD*, used modern DNA sequencing technology to examine 20,000 genes from patients who have schizophrenia but whose parents do not. This circumstance, known as “de nova mutations,” is experienced more often in schizophrenics than in “normal” individuals.
Schizophrenia affects men and women equally and occurs in similar rates in all ethnic groups around the world, according to the National Institute for Mental Health. With the results of this study, researchers can begin to understand how gene mutations predispose one to schizophrenia.
“Most of the genes identified in this study have not been previously linked to schizophrenia, thereby providing new potential therapeutic targets,” said Simon Girard, one of Rouleau’s colleagues who performed the key experiments in the study.
Schizophrenia may be the most misunderstood mental illness in the world. Those who suffer from the condition are often stigmatized and labeled violent despite a lack of evidence to support the claim. Rouleau’s findings will lead to expanded research. “Our results not only open the door to a better understanding of schizophrenia,” said Rouleau, “they also give us valuable information about the molecular mechanisms involved in human brain development and function.”
*Guy A. Rouleau, MD, is a researcher at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre and director of CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Center.
What You Should Do if Someone You Love Has Schizophrenia
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While there is no cure for schizophrenia, it is a treatable and manageable disease.
The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 407-574-5190 for more information.