Biomarkers for Schizophrenia May Have Been Found

By Shawncho (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3

Schizophrenia is a severe, chronic and debilitating form of mental illness. When someone experiences a sudden onset of severe symptoms due to schizophrenia, the individual is said to be experiencing “acute psychosis.” According to research reports, there are abnormalities present in the brain before an individual even develops schizophrenia.

In past studies, a research team from Yale University found that schizophrenia was linked with profound changes in the connection between the frontal cortex and thalamus. The frontal cortex is an area of the brain involved in higher thinking, while the thalamus is the part that relays information.

What Did the Study Find?

In the most recent study, researchers identified these changes are already in the brain before schizophrenia is diagnosed. Meaning the findings could possibly be a potential marker for the disease which around 1 percent of individuals around the world suffers with.

Alan Anticevic, assistant professor of psychiatry said in a Yale press release, “Up until this study, we did not know whether this pattern was a result of the disease or a potential byproduct of medication or some other factor.”

He also stated,” We show these same abnormalities already exist in people who are at higher risk for developing psychosis.”

The study was published online in the August 12, 2015 edition of the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
What to Know about Schizophrenia
This brain disorder most often develops during the late teens or early adulthood. However, people often have early warning signs like mild suspicion or auditory hallucinations.

Other symptoms of schizophrenia include people believe others can read their mind, control their thoughts or are plotting to harm them. The illness can be terrifying and it can cause a person to become irritable, agitated and withdrawn.

People with schizophrenia may seem to make no sense when they talk. An individual could possibly sit for hours without speaking or moving, something referred to as catatonia. Sometimes individuals with this disorder will appear to be just fine until they talk about what is really on their mind.

Not only is the individual who suffers from schizophrenia affected, the person’s family and society is impacted too. These people may have difficulty finding and holding a job or taking care of themselves. Treatment can help alleviate the symptoms of the disorder, but most people with it will have to cope with symptoms throughout their life.

Individuals with schizophrenia are not generally violent. However, some of the symptoms could be associated with violence. If a person with the disorder becomes violent, it is most often directed at family members and takes place at home.

The Future

In this most recent study, the team of researchers analyzed the brains of 243 people with early warning signs of schizophrenia and 154 healthy individuals. The study group was followed for a period of 24-months.

Further research is needed in order to determine if the brain changes identified in the study are the actual cause of schizophrenia. Researchers remain hopeful and optimistic about these most recent developments.

 
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