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Advances in the field of schizophrenia research: New genetic factors identified
Date:7/30/2008

Schizophrenia is one of the most serious mental illnesses and is accompanied by symptoms that include delusions and blunted affect. Environmental as well as genetic factors form a complex interplay that leads to the illness. Two papers published in the Internet editions of the professional journals "Nature" and "Nature Genetics" have offered a ground-breaking step in the complex and extraordinarily difficult search for relevant genetic factors. The studies were carried out by large international research teams that also included researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt (LMU) Mnchen. As one of the first authors of the "Nature" study, Dr. Dan Rujescu, along with his colleague Dr. Hreinn Stefansson from deCODE genetics and Dr. Sven Cichon from the University of Bonn, played an influential role in conducting the studies. In both studies, researchers analyzed and compared the genetic data of non-affected persons with persons suffering from schizophrenia in the hopes of discovering genetic variations that contribute to the illness. "We were able to identify three so-called microdeletions." reports Rujescu. "When one of these rare genetic variations is present in a person, the result is a moderate to large increase in disease risk. In a study lead by Dr. Michael O'Donovan from Cardiff University we also found other relatively frequent variations that slightly increase a person's risk. Our results could make a significant contribution to the further research concerning the causes of schizophrenia as well as the development of diagnostic testsand possibly treatment."

Contrary to common belief, a split personality is not one of the potential symptoms of schizophrenia. "Persons affected with the illness, however, may exhibit changes in thought and behavior," explains Dan Rujescu, head of the Molecular and Clinical Neurobiology Section at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Munich. "Hallucinations or delusions are only a few of the pote
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Contact: Luise Dirscherl
dirscherl@lmu.de
49-892-180-2706
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt Mnchen
Source:Eurekalert

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