Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

A new analysis suggests that schizophrenia may be caused by an interaction of genes and viruses in glia cells

July 25, 2002
A report in the open access journal BMC Psychiatry presents a new hypothesis that may explain the causes of the psychiatric disease, schizophrenia. The hypothesis hinges on glia, a special type of cell, which is important for the maintenance of the connections between brain cells. By re-examining previously published research the authors suggest that schizophrenia may be caused by a combination of defective genes, which result in deficiencies of a variety of growth factors in glia, and infection by viruses, which may further weaken the glia. They conclude that this "weakening" of glia may result in the breakdown of connections between different brain cells leading to the development of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a severe disabling psychiatric disease, which affects approximately 1 percent of the population. People with schizophrenia often suffer terrifying symptoms such as hearing internal voices, feelings of extreme paranoia and an inability to distinguish reality from fantasy. It is clear that schizophrenia has a strong genetic component, however analysis of individual genes alone will not give us a full understanding the causes of schizophrenia.

Irving Gottesman, one of the authors of this paper and originator of the now widely accepted polygenic model of schizophrenia explains,

"The investigation of individual genes in isolation has its limitations since virtually all important biological phenomena, from normal brain functioning to schizophrenia, are the result of complex systems. What is needed is a systems approach for understanding the development of schizophrenia."

This insight motivated Gottesman, and his colleagues Hans Moises and Tomas Zoega, to apply such an approach to previously published results of schizophrenia research.

Human brains are made up of two main types of cells, nerve cells, which carry electrical impulses around the brain and glia, which are important for the normal development of the brain in the young and the maintenance of nerve connections in adults. The authors argue that many of the genes implicated in the development of schizophrenia code for factors involved in the development of glia cells. In addition they hypothesize that some viral infections may cause additional weakening of glial cells, which in turn may lead to the disruption of brain cell connections and the development of schizophrenia.

"Epidemiological data indicate that all humans must harbor viruses in the glial cells of their brains, and since reproduction is a necessity for these viruses to survive, it seems reasonable to presume that they are reproducing at low levels in glial cells and that this results in an additional weakening of glial functioning", explains Moises.

This new provocative hypothesis bridges the gap between several previously unrelated schizophrenia hypotheses, most notably the genetic, the neurodevelopmental and the virus hypotheses, thereby providing a unifying explanation for the development of schizophrenia. It is hoped that by testing this hypothesis in the laboratory, researchers will come up with new ways of treating this debilitating brain disease.


The new hypothesis is freely available in the peer-reviewed open access journal BMC Psychiatry - http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-244X/2/8/

BioMed Central Limited


Related Schizophrenia Current Events and Schizophrenia News Articles


A way to predict whether children with DiGeorge syndrome will develop autism or psychosis
Doctors and researchers have long known that children who are missing about 60 genes on a certain chromosome are at a significantly elevated risk for developing either a disorder on the autism spectrum or psychosis -- that is, any mental disorder characterized by delusions and hallucinations, including schizophrenia.

Scientists identify schizophrenia's 'Rosetta Stone' gene
Scientists have identified a critical function of what they believe to be schizophrenia's "Rosetta Stone" gene that could hold the key to decoding the function of all genes involved in the disease.

UC Davis researchers identify the source of the debilitating memory loss in people with psychosis
As disabling as its delusions and hallucinations, psychosis' devastating toll on memory arises from dysfunction of frontal and temporal lobe regions in the brain that rob sufferers of the ability to make associative connections, a UC Davis study has found, pinpointing potential target areas for treatments to help the more than 3.2 million Americans for whom medication quells the voices and visions, but not the struggle to remember.

Study details use of antipsychotic medication in young people
The use of antipsychotic medication increased among adolescents and young adults from 2006 to 2010 but not among children 12 years or younger, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Trends in antipsychotic medication use in children, adolescents, and young adults
Despite concerns that use of antipsychotic medications in treating young people has increased, use actually declined between 2006 and 2010 for children ages 12 and under, and increased for adolescents and young adults.

Lifelong learning is made possible by recycling of histones, study says
Neurons are a limited commodity; each of us goes through life with essentially the same set we had at birth.

Virtual training helps vets with PTSD, mentally ill nab more jobs
Finding a job is difficult for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and individuals with severe mental illness, who have high unemployment rates even though many want to work.

Long-acting antipsychotic medication may improve treatment for schizophrenia
Schizophrenia, which affects 2 million to 3 million people in the U.S., causes hallucinations, delusions and disorganization.

Norepinephrine aids brain in sorting complex auditory signals
For neuroscientists studying the intricate mechanisms of hearing in the brain's auditory cortex, a major question has been how a listener can focus in a noisy environment, and how neurochemicals help neurons convey as much embedded information as possible for the rest of the brain to act on.

Penn: Mom's stress alters babies' gut and brain through vaginal microbiome
Stress during the first trimester of pregnancy alters the population of microbes living in a mother's vagina. Those changes are passed on to newborns during birth and are associated with differences in their gut microbiome as well as their brain development, according to a new study by University of Pennsylvania researchers.
More Schizophrenia Current Events and Schizophrenia News Articles

Surviving Schizophrenia, 6th Edition: A Family Manual

Surviving Schizophrenia, 6th Edition: A Family Manual
by E. Fuller Torrey (Author)


Updated throughout and filled with all the latest research, the bestselling Surviving Schizophrenia is back, now in its sixth edition.Since its first publication in 1983, Surviving Schizophrenia has become the standard reference book on the disease and has helped thousands of patients, their families, and mental health professionals. In clear language, this much-praised and important book describes the nature, causes, symptoms, treatment, and course of schizophrenia and also explores living with it from both the patient's and the family's point of view. This new, completely updated sixth edition includes the latest research findings on what causes the disease, as well as information about the newest drugs for treatment, and answers the questions most often asked by families, consumers,...

Schizophrenia: Understanding Symptoms Diagnosis & Treatment

Schizophrenia: Understanding Symptoms Diagnosis & Treatment
by Anthony Wilkenson (Author)


Schizophrenia has become a recognized psychotic disorder in modern day psychology and research has shown that 1 in 100 people suffer from this disease in some proportion or degree. It is a dreaded disease and comes as a near death blow to those who are diagnosed with this condition. This fear does not necessarily arise from the scary disease it actually is, but various misconceptions, myths and misunderstanding that surround it. This disorder has been very thoroughly misunderstood and misrepresented. As a result, there is great confusion and stigma attached to it. This stigma, social pressure, and public opinion have made it very difficult to get the disorder diagnosed, treated or managed. Persons suffering from schizophrenia or under a risk of being affected by it are very insecure due...

The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness

The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
by Elyn R. Saks (Author)


Elyn R. Saks is an esteemed professor, lawyer, and psychiatrist and is the Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Law School, yet she has suffered from schizophrenia for most of her life, and still has ongoing major episodes of the illness. The Center Cannot Hold is the eloquent, moving story of Elyn's life, from the first time that she heard voices speaking to her as a young teenager, to attempted suicides in college, through learning to live on her own as an adult in an often terrifying world. Saks discusses frankly the paranoia, the inability to tell imaginary fears from real ones, the voices in her head telling her to kill herself (and to harm others); as well the incredibly difficult obstacles she...

Schizophrenia: A Blueprint for Recovery

Schizophrenia: A Blueprint for Recovery
by Milt Greek (Author)


Schizophrenia: A Blueprint for Recovery provides innovative techniques to work with a person in psychosis, move him or her into recovery and aid in rejoining mainstream society. Topics include the building of psychosis, hallucinations and false perceptions, working with someone in psychosis, stabilizing on medication and counseling for self-understanding. The 2012 Revised Edition includes enhancements in understanding psychosis, a discussion of medication and alternatives and a new appendix to aid in working with a person experiencing psychosis. The 2014 follow-up and companion book, Delusions, Meaning and Transformation, extends the understanding of psychosis and places the original material in Schizophrenia: A Blueprint for Recovery into the context of numerous other strategies for...

Schizophrenia For Dummies

Schizophrenia For Dummies
by Jerome Levine (Author), Irene S. Levine (Author)


Practical tools for leading a happy, productive life

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling mental disorder that afflicts one percent of the population, an estimated 2.5 million people in America alone. The firsthand advice in this reassuring guide will empower the families and caregivers of schizophrenia patients to take charge, offering expert advice on identifying the warning signs, choosing the right health professional, understanding currently available drugs and those on the horizon (as well as their side effects), and evaluating traditional and alternative therapies.

Schizophrenia: Cognitive Theory, Research, and Therapy

Schizophrenia: Cognitive Theory, Research, and Therapy
by Aaron T. Beck (Author), Neil A. Rector (Author), Neal Stolar (Author), Paul Grant (Author)


From Aaron T. Beck and colleagues, this is the definitive work on the cognitive model of schizophrenia and its treatment. The volume integrates cognitive-behavioral and biological knowledge into a comprehensive conceptual framework. It examines the origins, development, and maintenance of key symptom areas: delusions, hallucinations, negative symptoms, and formal thought disorder. Treatment chapters then offer concrete guidance for addressing each type of symptom, complete with case examples and session outlines. Anyone who treats or studies serious mental illness will find a new level of understanding together with theoretically and empirically grounded clinical techniques.

The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness

The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness
by Lori Schiller (Author), Amanda Bennett (Author)


At seventeen Lori Schiller was the perfect child -- the only daughter of an affluent, close-knit family. Six years later she made her first suicide attempt, then wandered the streets of New York City dressed in ragged clothes, tormenting voices crying out in her mind. Lori Schiller had entered the horrifying world of full-blown schizophrenia. She began an ordeal of hospitalizations, halfway houses, relapses, more suicide attempts, and constant, withering despair. But against all odds, she survived. Now in this personal account, she tells how she did it, taking us not only into her own shattered world, but drawing on the words of the doctors who treated her and family members who suffered with her.

In this new edition, Lori Schiller recounts the dramatic years following the...

Schizophrenia: Enter the Mind of a Schizophrenic! The Ultimate Information Book (Mental Health, Mental Illness) (Schizophrenia, Mental Health, Mental Illness)

Schizophrenia: Enter the Mind of a Schizophrenic! The Ultimate Information Book (Mental Health, Mental Illness) (Schizophrenia, Mental Health, Mental Illness)
by JR Kindle Publishing


Enter the Mind of a Schizophrenic!
Today only, get this Amazon #1 bestseller for just $2.99. Regularly priced at $4.99. Read on your PC, Mac, Smartphone, Tablet, or Kindle device.


Schizophrenia... Do YOU have the trait?

Schizophrenia is a rare psychotic disorder which is often the subject of fascination for “normal” people. Characterized by visual and auditory hallucinations and thought disturbances, schizophrenia is a very difficult condition to cope with.

In modern society, schizophrenics are often feared and misunderstood, especially since popular culture tends to vilify them and associate them with sociopaths and psychopaths. Although it is true that schizophrenia may be associated with psychopathy, they don’t always go...

The Complete Family Guide to Schizophrenia: Helping Your Loved One Get the Most Out of Life

The Complete Family Guide to Schizophrenia: Helping Your Loved One Get the Most Out of Life
by Kim T. Mueser PhD (Author), Susan Gingerich MSW (Author)


Will the person you love ever get better? Chances are you've grappled with the question. With care and support from their families, people with schizophrenia can and do make vast improvements. Noted therapists Kim Mueser and Susan Gingerich deepen your understanding of the illness and cover a wide range of effective treatments. Based on decades of research and experience, they offer pragmatic suggestions for dealing with depression, psychosis, and other symptoms. They show you how to prioritize needs, resolve everyday problems, and encourage your loved one to set life goals. Plus, individual sections highlight special issues for parents, children, siblings, and partners. Whether you’re facing schizophrenia for the first time or you’ve dealt with its impact for years, you’ll...

Orthomolecular Treatment for Schizophrenia

Orthomolecular Treatment for Schizophrenia
by Abram Hoffer (Author)


Orthomolecular medicine can be effective in the treatment of schizophrenia, a mental disorder often treated with drugs. Deficiency often plays a major role in the onset of this condition. Thus, nutritional supplementation is integral to Dr. Hoffers approach to schizophrenia. This short, concise guide explains how the disorder is diagnosed, what causes it and how to effectively treat it without drugs.

© 2015 BrightSurf.com