Essay Example on About 1 out of every 100 people around the world have Schizophrenia

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About 1 out of every 100 people around the world have schizophrenia a mental disorder that affects over 21 million people worldwide Yet though the mental disorder is not rare the cause of schizophrenia remains unknown What is agreed upon is that schizophrenia is caused by a combination of factors as opposed to a single one New scientific research has debunked the previously accepted theory that schizophrenia manifests due to wiring problems in the prefrontal and temporal lobes the parts of the brain known to be responsible for hearing perception personality and decision making In the largest ever big data study on schizophrenia which was integrated from 29 different international studies by the ENIGMA Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta Analysis network scientists from the University of Southern California analyzed the data of 1 963 people with schizophrenia and 2 359 healthy controls from all over the globe They studied data taken by a form of MRI known as diffusion tensor imaging which measures how water molecules move in white matter and were able to distinguish areas in the brain's communication system that weren't as insulated as they normally are

The new findings from this study suggest that people with schizophrenia have frayed white matter wiring throughout their brains as opposed to in just sections of it as previously believed White matter is fatty brain tissue that enables neurons to communicate with each other White matter communications have been found to be disrupted throughout the entire brain but also specifically in the corpus callosum the part of the brain that controls communication between the brain's two hemispheres and in the front part of the corona radiata a crucial part of the brain for processing information Though brain chemistry is an important factor in the cause of schizophrenia it is not the only one Genetics have observed to be another component It is yet to be known which genes may be responsible for schizophrenia but researchers have been investigating to find specific gene factors that may be play a role in the hereditary development of schizophrenia

 The neuregulin 1 gene the OLIG2 gene and the COMT gene currently under further investigation The COMT gene specifically depletes the frontal lobes of neurochemical dopamine when abnormal which can result in hallucinations and impair the brain s reality check both common symptoms of schizophrenia Heredity does not explain all cases of schizophrenia as 60 of schizophrenics have no close family members with the illness but the risk for inheriting schizophrenia ranges from about 10 for people who have one first degree family member with the disorder including mothers fathers and siblings to about 40 65 for those who have both parents or an identical twin affected by schizophrenia Left untreated schizophrenia can have detrimental effects on not only the patient with schizophrenia but also their families and the people around them People with schizophrenia have an increased risk for self destructive behaviors and suicide 



Many of them abuse alcohol and drugs which not only results in their having more severe symptoms but increases their risk for violence On the other hand most schizophrenics smoke as a form of self medication that may be able to control symptoms leaving them nicotine dependent In addition because clinical depression resulting from dealing with social isolation discrimination and stigma is common among people with schizophrenia these patients have an increased risk of suicide The new scientific discovery that schizophrenia disrupts the brain s entire communication system improves the known understanding behind the mechanics of schizophrenia which could help direct future research about the disorder Without this study with the belief that schizophrenia could be studied by looking at a single region of the brain future research could have been misdirected Researchers in the future plan to analyze exactly how these communication networks in white matter get damaged in the first place but now know to look for genes that affect the entire brain s infrastructure as opposed to one particular section

Knowing more about where to look in the brain for the the causes and effects of schizophrenia allows for the finding of more effective treatments of the mental disorder Currently treatment for schizophrenia consists of only medications to address observed symptoms as the causes of the disorder remain unknown leaving thousands of patients forced to take antipsychotic drugs for the rest of their lives These drugs cause many undesirable side effects including weight gain tremors emotional numbing and extreme drowsiness According to Sinead Kelly a researcher at the Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California USC when the study was conducted and is now at Harvard Medical School These findings could lead to the identification of biomarkers that enable researchers to test patients response to schizophrenia treatments She and her team of researchers believe that after proving the global effect of schizophrenia across the entire brain they have shown that studying a single part of the brain where is not going to give the whole story about the cause of schizophrenia Rather future research should be conducted knowing that the cause of schizophrenia is cannot be centralized to a single part of the brain but must affect all regions of the brain


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