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Research starts on solving schizophrenia

12.10.2007
Queen’s scientists have started research on a human gene that will lead to a better understanding of schizophrenia.

The research identifies brain abnormalities and what causes them. This better understanding of the abnormalities will lead to improved treatment and preventative approaches that stop the problems developing.

Led by Professor Gavin Reynolds, Professor of Neuroscience the group is studying human post mortem brain tissue to understand the nerve cell changes resulting in the symptoms of schizophrenia.

According to Professor Reynolds: “Schizophrenia remains a huge mystery to us still; we understand very little of what causes it, while the treatments available are not very effective.

“We have found that the changes in a gene (Neuregulin) which increases the liability of contracting schizophrenia also causes nerve cell changes in the brain.”

“The genetic risk factors are inherited from parents as common variations in our genes. Having these risk factors has only a small effect on whether someone develops schizophrenia.”

Backed by the Stanley Medical Research Institute, Professor Reynolds said: “It has been recognised that Queen’s has experience and expertise in the study of post mortem brain tissue and how we identify the problems in the brain that cause schizophrenia.”

Lisa Mitchell | alfa
Further information:
http://www.qub.ac.uk

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