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Schizophrenia candidate genes affect even healthy individuals
Date:9/27/2007

., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, notes: The genetics of schizophrenia is turning out to be a complicated story involving many so-called risk gene variants that are actually commonly present in the general population, i.e., people who do not have schizophrenia and will never develop this disorder. It is striking that these genes all effect the glutamate system in the brain. Glutamate is the main excitatory chemical messenger used by the cerebral cortex. Thus, this paper highlights a role for glutamate in the development of schizophrenia-like symptoms, attention deficits, and memory problems. This genetic information adds to a growing body of evidence that highlights the potential importance of glutamate systems as a target for new medications for the treatment of schizophrenia.

Dr. Stefanis, explaining the importance of this study, comments that these findings support the notion that even at the general population level, the genetic liability to psychosis may be expressed as minute and undetected to the naked eye alterations in brain information processing capacity and behavior. Dr. Krystal adds, Consistent with a growing body of evidence, this study suggests that there may be subtle cognitive impairments that are present when these common risk gene variants are present in the general population. Clearly, these findings will have an important impact on the future genetic work in this area.


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Contact: Jayne Dawkins
ja.dawkins@elsevier.com
215-239-3674
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

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