March 28, 2012

"Genetic Risk and Stressful Early Infancy Join to Increase Risk for Schizophrenia"

        This article is about how scientists are starting to better understand the cause of shizophrenia. Researchers from John Hopkins genetically engineered mice to have reduced levels of DISC1, a protein in one type of neuron found in the hippocampus. The mice with regular levels of DISC1 and reduced DISC1 had the same sized neurons. Meanwhile researchers at the University of Calgary did this same experiment on mouse newborns but induced stress on them, they did this by separating the newborns from their mothers for three hours a day. The mice with the reduced DISC1 levels had much larger disorganized neurons than the mice that had regular DISC1 levels. Finally they compared the DNA sequence of the mice with 2,961 patents with shizophrenia and they were able to pinpoint the gene that causes schizophrenia. "Now that we have identified the precise genetic risks, we can rationally search for drugs that correct these defects" says hongjun song, PH.D. co author, professor of neurology, and director of the stem cell program at the institute for cell engineering.
        I liked this article because mental illnesses such as shizophrenia confuse me like the cause of them and such. So hopefully if they find the cause they will be able to find a cure to this and other mental illnesses I find it interesting how they were able to find the protein in the brain that causes schizophrenia in mice; and tie that into humans.

Green neurons have reduced DISC 1 protein 

1 comment:

Fariha said...

This is great. I knew schizophrenia was a mental dysfunction but I didn't know what caused it. Hopefully researchers will be able to find a cure soon.