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December 05 2019

New protein function could be key to treatment of drug addiction and behavioral disorders

The reward pathway of the brain causes feelings of happiness but is also involved in behavioral disorders like schizophrenia and addiction. A breakthrough study has now identified the role of a protein called Npas4 in the reward pathway, mediated by the well-known proteins MAPK and CBP, opening doors to potential therapies for associated disorders. Cocaine-treated mice with inactivated Npas4 exhibited considerable reduction in cocaine-seeking behavior, emphasizing the relevance of the protein.

November 13 2019

Chronic adversity dampens dopamine production

People exposed to a lifetime of psychosocial adversity may have an impaired ability to produce the dopamine levels needed for coping with acutely stressful situations.

November 12 2019

Lower IQ, family history tied to treatment-resistant schizophrenia

Those with a family history of schizophrenia and men with lower IQ are more likely to struggle with treatment resistant schizophrenia than others with the mental disorder, according to a new study. The researchers say the findings could be important in efforts to design novel drug treatments that improve cognition.

October 28 2019

Biomarker for schizophrenia can be detected in human hair

Working with model mice, post-mortem human brains, and people with schizophrenia, researchers have discovered that a subtype of schizophrenia is related to abnormally high levels hydrogen sulfide in the brain. Experiments showed that this abnormality likely results from a DNA-modifying reaction during development that lasts throughout life.

October 24 2019

Schizophrenia risk gene linked to cognitive deficits in mice

Researchers have discovered in mice how one of the few genes definitively linked to schizophrenia, called SETD1A, likely confers risk for the illness. Mice genetically engineered to lack a functioning version of the enzyme-coding gene showed abnormalities in working memory, mimicking those commonly seen in patients. Restoring the gene's function corrected the working memory deficit and counteracting its deficiency also repaired neuronal circuit deficits in adult mice -- suggesting clues for potential treatment strategies.

October 15 2019

New insights into biological underpinnings of schizophrenia

Researchers have implicated 10 new genes in the development of schizophrenia using a method called whole exome sequencing, the analysis of the portion of DNA that codes for proteins. A global consortium of schizophrenia research teams incorporated genetic data from over 125,000 people to gain deeper insights into the genetic underpinnings of schizophrenia.

Potential therapy to treat detrimental effects of marijuana

A new study using a preclinical animal model suggests that prenatal exposure to THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, makes the brain's dopamine neurons (an integral component of the reward system) hyperactive and increases sensitivity to the behavioral effects of THC during pre-adolescence.

October 09 2019

Core symptom of schizophrenia reversed in adult mice

Researchers have restored normal working memory to a mouse model of schizophrenia, eliminating a core symptom of the disorder that, in people, has proven virtually impossible to treat.

October 02 2019

The propensity to hear 'voices' in Schizophrenia may be established by infancy

Findings reveal how auditory hallucinations may arise in patients with schizophrenia and provide potential new targets for early detection and treatment.

September 11 2019

Scientists identify gene as master regulator in schizophrenia

Using computational tools to investigate gene transcription networks in large collections of brain tissues, a scientific team has identified a gene that acts as a master regulator of schizophrenia during early human brain development. The findings may lay the groundwork for future treatments for the highly complex neuropsychiatric disorder.

September 09 2019

Dietary supplement may help with schizophrenia

A dietary supplement, sarcosine, may help with schizophrenia as part of a holistic approach complementing antipsychotic medication, according to a researcher.

Preventing the onset of schizophrenia in mouse model

Although predisposing processes occur earlier, schizophrenia breaks out at young adulthood, suggesting it might involve a pathological transition during late brain development in predisposed individuals. Using a genetic mouse model of schizophrenia, researchers from the FMI showed that, like in patients, characteristic network and cognitive deficits only emerge in adult mice. They then demonstrated that these deficits could all be permanently prevented by specific treatments during a late adolescence sensitive time window.

September 07 2019

Study locates brain areas for understanding metaphors in healthy and schizophrenic people

Scientists have used MRI scanners to discover the parts of the brain which understand metaphors, in both healthy volunteers and people with schizophrenia. They found that people with schizophrenia employ different brain circuits to overcome initial lack of understanding. The researchers hope this identification of brain reactions and affected areas may help people with schizophrenia to better comprehend metaphors in everyday speech.

September 06 2019

How our brain filters sounds

When two identical sounds are repeated quickly, a filter reduces the attention that the brain directs to the second sound it hears. In people with schizophrenia, this ability to reduce the brain's response to identical sounds does not function properly. But the question is: Why? Neuroscientists have been investigating the mechanism that lies behind this auditory sensory gating. Their results show that the filtering begins at the very beginning of the auditory stimuli processing.

September 03 2019

The neurobiological mechanisms behind schizophrenia may depend on gender

The neurobiological pathophysiology of schizophrenia differs significantly between males and females, according to a new study. The findings suggest a possible need for more sex-specific treatments for schizophrenia. The study was the first to identify a number of sex-specific genes related to schizophrenia using neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells.

August 27 2019

Neurological brain markers might detect risk for psychotic disorders

People who may hear and see things that are not there could have symptoms of psychosis, better known as psychotic disorders. Now, researchers have found neurological markers in the human brain that can be used to detect people at-risk for developing psychotic disorders and to understand when this risk has been successfully treated.

August 20 2019

Risk of psychotic disorders has disease-specific brain effects

Brain abnormalities in people at familial risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder emerge in unique patterns, despite the symptom and genetic overlap of the disorders, according to a new study. Similarities between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have led to the diagnoses being increasingly combined in studies of psychosis, but the findings highlight that risk for the disorders has distinct effects on the brain.

August 13 2019

Researchers identify glial cells as critical players in brain's response to social stress

Exposure to violence, social conflict, and other stressors increase risk for psychiatric conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. A new paper suggests that the behavior of oligodendrocytes -- the glial cells that produce the myelin sheath that protects nerve fibers -- plays a critical role in determining whether we succumb to or tolerate stress.

August 09 2019

Disrupted genetic clocks in schizophrenia-affected brains reveal clues to the disease

Researchers studying schizophrenia-affected brains have discovered that the daily timing of gene expression is highly disrupted in the region responsible for cognition and memory. The findings could help reveal previously missed genetic links to the disease.

August 07 2019

Cannabis' effects on brain neurochemistry

A new study provides the first evidence of a blunted response to stress-induced dopamine signaling in the brain's prefrontal cortex in individuals at high risk for psychosis who regularly used cannabis.
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