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New findings on schizophrenia

Researchers have identified more than 100 positions in the human genome that can be connected to the risk of developing schizophrenia.

An international research team, where scientists from Umeå University and Karolinska Institute take part, have presented a new study in Nature on the findings which could lead to new methods to treat the disease.

The current drugs available on the market mainly effect psychosis symptoms and often give rise to side effects. Also, the existing medicines cannot treat the cognitive disability that often comes with schizophrenia.
The difficulty of developing new pharmaceuticals is due to a lack of knowledge on the underlying biological mechanisms behind schizophrenia.

The researchers behind the study have studied DNA samples from more than 80 000 people diagnosed with schizophrenia and compared the genetic profile with healthy volunteers. 108 specific positions in the human genome associated with risk of schizophrenia were identified, 83 of which have not previously been connected to the disease.

The study has also shown detected genes that are expressed in brain tissue, especially those related to neural functions and synaptic functions.