Schizophrenia is a complex disorder and instead of being a single disease schizophreniais a collection of different ailments. A new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO states that the disease Schizophrenia is a collection of eight different genetic disorders and each one present with their own specific symptoms.
The researchers identified the specific gene clusters which can precipitate eight different types of schizophrenia with each having its own specific symptoms.
The research team is led by senior investigator Dr. C. Robert Cloninger, the Wallace Renard Professor of Psychiatry and Genetics at Washington University. The findings may pave way for better diagnosis and treatment regimens for schizophrenia. The researchers mentioned, this could be the reason behind different patients show different behaviour while they are suffering from schizophrenic episodes.
Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder and the symptoms of the disease include illusion, delusions, abnormal thoughts, cognitive problems and agitated body movements.
People whom have a history of schizophrenia in their family have an elevated risk of developing the condition.1% of the US population have schizophrenia while 10% of individuals who have a first-degree relative with the disorder.
Researchers have been working feverishly to identify specific genes associated with schizophrenia. A study by researchers from the Cardiff University School of Medicine in the UK had identified 83 new genes linked to schizophrenia.
Dr. Cloninger says “Genes don’t operate by themselves. They function in concert much like an orchestra, and to understand how they’re working, you have to know not just who the members of the orchestra are but how they interact. People have been looking at genes to get a better handle on heart disease, hypertension and diabetes, and it’s been a real disappointment. Most of the variability in the severity of disease has not been explained, but we were able to find that different sets of genetic variations were leading to distinct clinical syndromes. So I think this really could change the way people approach understanding the causes of complex diseases.”
The study involved 4,200 people with schizophrenia and 3,800 people without the disorder and the results were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Schizophrenia remains one of the leading causes of disability in US and 75% of people who develop schizophrenia are between the ages of 16 and 25. 25% of the people who suffer from schizophrenia recover completely, 25% have symptoms that do not improve over time, while 50% have symptoms than improve over a 10-year period.