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August 26, 2013

Investigators Fill in Missing Pieces Underlying Schizophrenia

  • University of North Carolina School of Medicine scientists published a genome-wide association study (GWAS) that identifies 22 locations in the human genome thought to be involved in causing schizophrenia. Thirteen of these genomic sites are newly discovered.

    “If finding the causes of schizophrenia is like solving a jigsaw puzzle, then these new results give us the corners and some of the pieces on the edges,” said study lead author Patrick F. Sullivan, M.D. “We've debated this for a century, and we are now zeroing in on answers.

    “This study gives us the clearest picture to date of two different pathways that might be going wrong in people with schizophrenia. Now we need to concentrate our research very urgently on these two pathways in our quest to understand what causes this disabling mental illness.”

    Dr. Sullivan is a professor in the departments of genetics and psychiatry and director of the Center for Psychiatric Genomics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. His team work appears on line in Nature Genetics.

    The results are based on a multi-stage analysis that began with a Swedish national sample of 5,001 schizophrenia cases and 6,243 controls, followed by a meta-analysis of previous GWAS studies, and finally by replication of single nucleotide polymorphisms in 168 genomic regions in independent samples. The total number of people in the study was more than 59,000.

    One of the two pathways identified by the study, according to Dr. Sullivan, is a calcium channel pathway. This pathway includes the genes CACNA1C and CACNB2, whose proteins touch each other as part of an important process in nerve cells. The other is the “micro-RNA 137,” which includes the MIR137 gene (known to regulate neuronal development) and at least a dozen other genes regulated by MIR137.

    “What's really exciting about this is that now we can use standard, off-the-shelf genomic technologies to help us fill in the missing pieces,” continued Dr. Sullivan. “We now have a clear and obvious path to getting a fairly complete understanding of the genetic part of schizophrenia. That wouldn't have been possible five years ago.”

Posted 8/26/2013 by Mohammed Athari

Delusional, psychotic symptom experienced by people with schizophrenia is because of a defective switch in the brain that blurs one’s ability to distinguish inner thoughts from objective reality. There may be some slight genetic combination that might make the field, so to say, more fertile for the occurrence of the disease. For example, if someone has a hard time with seamless absorption and excretion, thereby being unable to clear accumulated toxic gunk in the brain, becoming exposed to higher levels of neurotoxins that damage, kill, and cause calcification, then such a person might be more susceptible to have the brain switch become faulty. The cause of the faulty brain switch, however, is neurotoxins such as mercury or lead. Psycho-socialists claimed, for the last 100 years, that complex disorders of the brain were caused by genetics. This became the cornerstone explanation, while we dumped insane amounts of toxins into our environment. Meanwhile, complex disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and cancer increased exponentially. More studies began finding clusters of areas around lead paint and pollution facilities where 50% or more of the population was suffering from a life altering complex disorder. We dumped so much mercury into our waterways that eating more than one serving of fish a week is hazardous to our health. We brought lead into our homes in the form of wall covering. Genetics is one piece of a puzzle that has ten thousand pieces. We are all 99.9% genetically equal or we would not be able to mate. The real scientists always knew that mapping the genome would expose this “missing heritability” which is now estimated, according to GWAS, to be a variance of +/-1%. This study is silly. If you read it closely, it says nothing.


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