Scientists may have identified genes associated with infantile schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a major mental disorder, sometimes dubbed the “cancer of psychiatry.” Indeed, individuals with this condition experience hallucinations, delusions, and often exhibit disorganized thought, speech, and behavior, leading to significant distress and impairment in functioning.
Even more disturbing is childhood-onsent schizophrenia, which comes with similar symptoms, but occurs before adolescence. Children suffering fro this condition are generally severely disabled and never get to enjoy a normal life.
To shed light on this disorder, Chaumette et alia (2018) analyzed genetic data from 19 patients and compared them to their unaffected parents. This allowed the researchers to identify a mutation in the ATP1A3 gene that could constitute a natural vulnerability.
Interestingly, this gene plays a crucial role in the normal functioning of neurons--more specifically, in reuptake, or reabsorption of neurochemical molecules post-neurotransmission.
This finding could also help further our currently very limited understanding of the heritability of schizophrenia, which is estimated at 80%.
Source: Chaumette et alia (2018)