According to an article in the Washington Post, a recent study found that "patients with schizophrenia are three to four times as likely as healthy people to harbor large mutations in genes that control brain development," with many of those mutations unique to each individual. While the finding could mean that people suffering from schizophrenia each have their own form of the disease, it also helps doctors in the sense that tracking and treating each individual symptom becomes slightly easier.
"If the genetics tells us that schizophrenia is really 10 different disorders, then let's have 10 treatments that optimize the outcomes for everyone and not just use the same drugs for everybody," said Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health. The study also found evidence that suggests that schizophrenia and autism share some genetic roots. Jon McClellan, a child psychiatrist at the University of Washington, noted that "there is clearly an intersection of the brain systems involved."
To learn more:
- read the article in the Washington Post