Scientists understand little of what goes wrong in a psychotic person’s brain, but hope that brain imaging and systematic characterization of genetic activity and protein composition in the brain might help to shed light on mental diseases, eventually leading to better diagnosis, treatment, and possibly even prevention. A new study by Sabine Bahn and colleagues (Cambridge University) published in the international open-access journal PLoS Medicine provides a step in that direction.
The researchers compared the protein composition in the cerebrospinal fluid (the clear body fluid that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord) of 79 patients with different psychotic disorders and 90 mentally healthy individuals who served as controls. They found that samples from patients with psychosis had a number of characteristic changes compared with samples from control individuals, and that those changes were not found in the patients with other mental illnesses. They then wanted to test whether they would see the same pattern in a separate set of patients with psychotic illness, which turned out to be the case. Two of the changes in the cerebrospinal fluid associated with schizophrenia, namely higher levels of parts of a protein called VGF and lower levels of a protein called transthyretin, were also found in post-mortem brain samples of patients with schizophrenia compared with samples from controls.
These results suggest that this approach has the potential to find biomarkers for psychosis and possibly schizophrenia, which would be helpful for diagnosis and might help to understand the molecular basis for these conditions. If shown, in future studies, to be directly involved in causing the disease symptoms, they would be important targets for rational treatment and prevention efforts.
Citation: Huang JTJ, Leweke M, Oxley D, Wang L, Harris N, et al. (2006) Disease biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid of patients with first-onset psychosis. PLoS Med 3(11): e428.
Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy