Genetic research to better understand schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia, which usually occurs adolescence or early adulthood, affects over 24 million people worldwide.
It manifests itself by acute episodes of psychosis, which may include hallucinations and delusions, and various chronic symptoms resulting in emotional and intellectual.
Treatments are available, but their effectiveness needs to be improved, the researchers said.
Current drugs treat indeed symptoms of psychosis but have little bearing on the weakening of cognitive abilities, notes the American Broad Institute in a statement.
But identify significant genetic variation requires the availability of a large number of patients, many genetic analysis and processing of complex data.
This involves international collaboration and a substantial budget.
The study published this week in Nature is As such a breakthrough, by the extent of mobilization and the wealth of results.
This genetic study, the largest conducted so far in the psychiatric field, focused more than 150,000 people, including nearly 37,000 patients.
The study known as ” genome-wide association” based on extensive exploration of the genome of many individuals, healthy and affected to find and locate on the genome of genetic variations associated with disease, particularly common genetic mutations that individually have a minor effect, but whose accumulation can play a key role.
Researchers have identified at from more than 80,000 samples, 128 independent genetic variations in 108 specific regions of the genome, including 83 new ones, which may contribute to susceptibility to disease.
Most of these variations relate to genes involved in the transmission of information between the neurons and the essential functions to memory and learning.
Further associations between genes immunity and the risk of schizophrenia, further reinforces the hypothesis of a link between immune system dysfunction and disease, although its importance remains specify.
To new treatments for schizophrenia ?
” These new findings could stimulate the development of new treatments for schizophrenia,” said Michael O’Donovan lead author of the research.
” This discovery confirms that genetics is a major cause of disease” emphasize two specialists Jonathan Marcus Flint and Munafo in a commentary in the journal, noting that the denial of ” biological roots ” disease has often prevailed and was even the subject of an outright rejection by the anti-psychiatric movement of the 1970s.
The researchers want to extend this genetic study including individuals worldwide, with a view to develop future treatments for all patients and not just for a sub -population.