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


Smoking and schizophrenia: Understanding and breaking the cycle of addiction
Smoking addiction in schizophrenia can be explained by significantly increased activation of the ventro-medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), a region involved in the brain reward system.

Scientists ID genes connected to wellbeing, depression and neuroticism
An international group of more than 190 scientists who analyzed the genomes of 298,420 individuals have found genetic variants that may influence our sense of wellbeing, depression and neuroticism.

Indiana University-led researchers identify objective predictors of suicidality in women
Researchers have identified blood-based biomarkers and developed questionnaire-based apps that may help clinicians identify which of their female patients being treated for psychiatric disorders are at greatest risk of suicidal ideation or behavior.

Molecular mechanism for higher brain functions and neuropsychiatric disorders
A research group led by Osaka University and the University of Tokyo found that the intracellular protein trafficking is important for higher brain functions such as learning and memory.

Key findings -- Discovery of the characteristics of subcortical regions in schizophrenia
A research group led by Ryota Hashimoto, an associate professor at Osaka University, Naohiro Okada, a graduate student at the University of Tokyo, and Kiyoto Kasai, a professor at the University of Tokyo, replicated prior findings that the volume of globus pallidus (one of the basal ganglia in the brain) in schizophrenia was larger than that in healthy subjects.

Study finds only a small portion of synapses may be active during neurotransmission
Columbia University scientists have developed a new optical technique to study how information is transmitted in the brains of mice. Using this method, they found that only a small portion of synapses -- the connections between cells that control brain activity--may be active at any given time.

Newly found genomic causes of severe compulsiveness in dogs could aid study of human OCD
Research led by investigators in veterinary and human medicine has identified genetic pathways that exacerbate severity of canine compulsive disorder in Doberman pinschers, a discovery that could lead to better therapies for obsessive compulsive disorder in people.

Small study finds immunotherapy improves cognition in patients with schizophrenia
A recent study of a handful of patients supports mounting evidence that targeted suppression of inflammation packaged with standard therapy can improve the cognitive ability of patients with schizophrenia, physician-scientists report.

How a waste product of exercise protects neurons from trauma damage
Researchers led by EPFL have found how lactate, a waste product of glucose metabolism can protect neurons from damage following acute trauma such as stroke or spinal cord injury.

Best to sleep on it: Brain activity patterns during sleep consolidate memory
Why does sleeping on it help? This is the question tackled by new research at the University of Bristol, which reveals how brain activity during sleep sorts through the huge number of experiences we encounter every day, filing only the important information in memory.
More Schizophrenia Current Events and Schizophrenia News Articles

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: 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...

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: 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...

I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment. 10th Anniversary Edition.

I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment. 10th Anniversary Edition.
by Xavier Amador (Author)


'This book fills a tremendous void...' wrote E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., about the first edition of I AM NOT SICK, I Don't Need Help! Ten years later, it still does. Dr. Amador's research on poor insight was inspired by his attempts to help his brother Henry, who developed schizophrenia, accept treatment. Like tens of millions of others diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Henry did not believe he was ill. In this latest edition, 6 new chapters have been added, new research on anosognosia (lack of insight) is presented and new advice, relying on lessons learned from thousands of LEAP seminar participants, is given to help readers quickly and effectively use Dr. Amador s method for helping someone accept treatment. I AM NOT SICK, I Don't Need Help! is not just a reference for...

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...

When the Sun Bursts: The Enigma of Schizophrenia

When the Sun Bursts: The Enigma of Schizophrenia
by Christopher Bollas (Author)


Many schizophrenics experience their condition as one of radical incarceration, mind-altering medications, isolation, and dehumanization.  At a time when the treatment of choice is anti-psychotic medication, world-renowned psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas asserts that schizophrenics can be helped by much more humane treatments, and that they have a chance to survive and even reverse the process if they have someone to talk to them regularly and for a sustained period, soon after their first breakdown. 
 
In this sensitive and evocative narrative, he draws on his personal experiences working with schizophrenics since the 1960’s. He offers his interpretation of how schizophrenia develops, typically in the teens, as an adaptation in the difficult transition to...

Schizophrenia: You're Not Insane: Understanding Schizophrenia, Misdiagnosis, Current Research, Recovery, And The Violent Few (Schizophrenia, Schizophrenic, ... Mental Disorder, Schizoaffective Book 1)

Schizophrenia: You're Not Insane: Understanding Schizophrenia, Misdiagnosis, Current Research, Recovery, And The Violent Few (Schizophrenia, Schizophrenic, ... Mental Disorder, Schizoaffective Book 1)


Schizophrenia is one of the top misunderstood mental disorders of the human world now and in the past.
Scary treatments that definitely went against human rights were used to treat schizophrenia due to lack of understanding and even today the mental illness is not fully understood.
It is difficult to understand a mental illness that cannot be clearly defined by symptoms. There are too many symptoms that relate to bipolar, depression, and psychotic disorders for there to be a clear understanding of what is schizophrenia. This does not count the media perceptions and stereotypes assigned to schizophrenic behavior.

Discover how you can benefit from current research whether you suffer from schizophrenia, know someone who does, or just want to help researchers find a...

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.

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.

© 2016 BrightSurf.com