Schizophrenia might be Treatable in Future - New study reveals - Seeker's Thoughts

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Schizophrenia might be Treatable in Future - New study reveals

A collaboration between Australia and Indian scientists have identified a common gene shared by people suffering from schizophrenia, prompting hopes for a better understanding of the disease and how to treat it.
Before understanding about the gene lets understand what is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behave.

People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling.

Schizophrenia can often be a lifelong struggle.

When does Schizophrenia happen?
Schizophrenia most commonly strikes between the ages of 16 and 30, and males tend to show symptoms are slightly younger age than females.

In many cases, the disorder develops so slowly that the individual does not know that they have had it for many years. However, in other cases, it can strike suddenly and develop quickly.
Schizophrenia affects approximately 1% of all adults, globally. Experts say schizophrenia is probably many illnesses masquerading as one.
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The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three categories: positive, negative and cognitive.
1. Positive symptoms
“Positive symptoms are psychotic behavior not generally seen in healthy people. People with positive symptoms may “lose touch” with some aspects of reality. Symptoms include:
1-    Hallucinations
2-    Delusions
3-    Thought disorders (unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking)
4-    Movement disorder (agitated body movements)

2. Negative symptoms
“Negative” symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors.
1-    “Flat affect” (reduced expression of emotions via facial expression or voice tone)
2-    Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life
3-    Difficulty beginning and sustaining activities
4-    Reduced speaking

3. Cognitive symptoms
For some patients, the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia are subtle, but for others, they are more severe and patients may notice changes in their memory or other aspects of thinking.
Symptoms include
1-    Poor “executive functioning” (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions)
2-    Trouble focusing or paying attention
3-    Problem with “working memory” (the ability to use the information immediately after learning it).

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Major symptoms are – Delusions, hallucinations and Thought disorder
Delusions – the patient displays false beliefs, which can take many forms, such as delusions or persecution, or delusion or grandeur. They may feel others are attempting to control them remotely. Or, they think they have extraordinary powers and abilities.
Hallucinations - hearing voices is much more common than seeing, feeling tasting, or smelling things which are not there, however, people with schizophrenia may experience a wide range of hallucinations.
Thought disorder – the person may jump from one to another for a logical reason. The speaker may be hard to follow or erratic.
What are the causes of schizophrenia?
Evidence suggests that genetic and environmental factor act together to bring about schizophrenia. The condition has an inherited element, but environmental triggers also significantly influence it.
What researchers have found about schizophrenia?
The study identified a gene called NAPRT1 that encodes an enzyme involved in vitamin B3 metabolism.
When researchers knocked out the NAPRT1 gene in zebrafish, brain development of the fish was impaired. They are working to understand more deeply how this gene functions in the brain.
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While studies done on predominantly European populations have identified over 100 genetic variants associated with schizophrenia, researchers say that looking at other populations can highlight different parts of the genome and provide a more robust understanding of the disease.

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According to the researchers their studies aim to shed more light on what makes people susceptible to schizophrenia and possible treatments for the future.
About researchers- Professor Rangswamy Thara, co-founder, and director of the schizophrenia research foundation in Chennai, India and Professor Bryan Mowry from Queensland brain institute, University of Queensland.

Therapies and Treatment of schizophrenia
With proper treatment, patients can lead productive lives.
Treatment can help relieve many of the symptoms of schizophrenia. However, the majority of patients with the disorder have to cope with symptoms for life.
According to the psychiatrist, most effective treatment for schizophrenia patients is usually a combination of – medication, psychological counseling and self-help resources.

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