Description: One of the keys to understanding the emergence of schizophrenia might be developmental and genetic. This article explores a recent finding looking at the way our system regulates the pruning of neurons in neural networks within adolescents in the role that malfunctioning of this planning process might play in the development of a disorder like schizophrenia.
Source: Here is Why People Get Schizophrenia, Scientists Say, Dennis Thompson, Health Day,
Date: January 27, 2016
Photo Credit: US News and World Report
The factors that contribute to the emergence of the disorder like schizophrenia and gathered a great deal of research attention . The more we understand about the underlying causes of major disorders like schizophrenia the better able we are to focus treatments and interventions. The research described in this media post focuses on the role of a particular gene that plays a role in, among other things, synaptic pruning. Synaptic pruning is the process by which the brain sorts out which neural connections to keep and which ones to prune out throughout development and into the latter stages of adolescent brain growth and development when brain changes are being formally consolidated from a development perspective. To the extent that this finding is supported in subsequent research it may suggest a number of new, developmentally targeted, intervention opportunities for addressing and dealing with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia has typically been noted to arise first in late adolescence and young adulthood. As such, being able to point to some things that may be linked to this particular development are important for steps in developing a better understanding of the nature and genetic or neuro – biological course of this major disorder category.
Questions for Discussion:
- What role do the researchers the study was described in this article believe that the particular gene they are studying plays in the emergence of the symptoms of schizophrenia?
- What potential issues arise when we consider the role that genetic factors might have to play not just in group variation in the rates of schizophrenia but in the actual emergence of the symptoms of the disorder itself?
- Assuming that these results stand up, what might be some of the treatment implications of this finding for current and future individuals struggling with the symptoms of schizophrenia?
References (Read Further):
Sekar, A., Bialas, A. R., de Rivera, H., Davis, A., Hammond, T. R., Kamitaki, N., … & Genovese, G. (2016). Schizophrenia risk from complex variation of complement component 4. Nature.
Dhindsa, R. S., & Goldstein, D. B. (2016). Schizophrenia: From genetics to physiology at last. Nature.