Schizophrenia is a serious psychiatric disorder that starts in late teens or early adulthood and affects around 1 in 300 people across the world, according to the World Health Organization.
Specific genes were identified in the paper published April 8 inNature, which included ayman Fanous, MD, to the world''s largest genetic study of schizophrenia, analyzing DNA from 76,755 people with schizophrenia and 243,649 without it to better understand the genes and biological processes behind the condition.
The similarities between schizophrenia and many DNA sequence changes have been discovered previously, but it is rarely possible to link the findings to specific genes, according to Fanous, the chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona Medical Center Phoenix.
Many of our genes have been linked to specific genetics, a necessary step in a long-term process to understand the causes of this disorder and to develop fresh therapies.
Dr. Fanous is a member of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, which includes hundreds of researchers across 45 countries.
The study found a much greater number of genetic links to schizophrenia than previously, in 287 different areas of the genome, the human body''s DNA blueprint.
The study is the largest genome-wide association initiative to date, and the research team investigated a substantial increase in the number of schizophrenia-associated regions. Using advanced methods, they then identified 120 genes susceptible to contribute to the disorder.
Although there are a large number of genetic variants involved in schizophrenia, the study found that genes expressed in neurons are significant, indicating these cells as the most important pathway of pathology. The findings also suggest that abnormal neuron function in schizophrenia may affect many brain areas, which might explain its diverse symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions, and difficulties thinking clearly.
Researchers claim that genetic studies provide guidance to people beyond African American or Latino ancestries.
Dr. Fanous says that we must leverage the power of larger, more ethnically diverse datasets to help people of all ancestries develop genetic research and to assist in discovering the genetic causes of these illnesses.
More than half of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in 25 individuals is diagnosed with a mental illness.
According to Guy Reed, the UArizona College of Medicine Phoenix''s translatoral research ecosystem is being developed in neuroscience and mental health, helping communities in Arizona. Dr. Fanous is very proud to have developed innovative therapies in genetics and genomics in partnership with the Phoenix VA Health Care System, to enable personalized care for patients.
This global study, led byCardiff University, reveals the greatest evidence yet on schizophrenia''s genetic basis.