Get more HMS news here It also helps explain two decades-old observations: synaptic pruning is particularly active during adolescence, which is the typical period of onset for symptoms of schizophrenia, and the brains of schizophrenic patients tend to show fewer connections between neurons.
They found that the C4 gene structure (DNA) could predict the C4 gene activity (RNA) in each person’s brain.
They then used this information to infer C4 gene activity from genome data from 65,000 people with and without schizophrenia. People who had particular structural forms of the C4 gene showed higher expression of that gene and, in turn, had a higher risk of developing schizophrenia.
These symptoms most frequently begin in patients when they are teenagers or young adults.
First described more than 130 years ago, schizophrenia lacks highly effective treatments and has seen few biological or medical breakthroughs over the past half-century.
“The human genome is providing a powerful new way in to this disease.
Understanding these genetic effects on risk is a way of prying open that black box, peering inside and starting to see actual biological mechanisms.”“This study marks a crucial turning point in the fight against mental illness,” said Bruce Cuthbert, acting director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
But researchers had no idea which of the hundreds of genes in the region was actually responsible or how it acted.
Based on analyses of the genetic data, Mc Carroll and Sekar focused on a region containing the C4 gene.
From their internal perspective, patients' delusions seem to be true.
While the hallucinations and delusions characteristic of psychosis are 'imagined' in the sense that they do not have a solid, consistent basis in reality, they are nevertheless unavoidable and as other more reality-based perceptions to the people who experience them.