Does schizophrenia begin in the womb?
While Geodon users have generally been informed that schizophrenia is commonly associated with rapid development during the stages of late teens and early 20s, recent research indicates otherwise.
While Geodon users have generally been informed that schizophrenia is commonly associated with rapid development during the stages of late teens and early 20s, recent research indicates otherwise. Genetics has always played a role in the development of the mental disease, and the brain of a fetus may be the key factor in schizophrenia evolution.
Researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, have analyzed whether a theory of how neurological dysfunction during the brain development stages of a baby in the womb might be the key factor in the progression of schizophrenia. Although the disease impacts an estimated 1.1 percent of the world population, the overall origin and causes for schizophrenia remain relatively unknown for scientists, and that unawareness presents the underlying intention for this particular study.
Using stem cell technology, the scientists took skin cells from four patients with schizophrenia and six without, then morphed them into an earlier stem cell prototype which replicated the cells in the brain of a developing fetus. Researchers began testing the cells in two different methods, including monitoring how far the cells moved along particular surfaces of the fetus, while the other involved analyzing the stress endured by the cells while imaging mitochondria.
Both tests were able to distinguish that people with schizophrenia exhibited different cell activity than those not diagnosed with the disease. In particular, neural cells from schizophrenic patients displayed sequences of aberrant migration, which is typically associated with poor connectivity in brain neurons as well as increased levels of oxidative stress.
Dr. Fred H. Gage, a professor at the Salk Institute and lead author of the study, was confident that his team's research could indicate a new angle to approach when it comes to finding the origin of schizophrenia.
"This study aims to investigate the earliest detectable changes in the brain that lead to schizophrenia," Gage said in a statement. "We were surprised at how early in the developmental process that defects in neural function could be detected."
Recognizing potential signs of schizophrenia