June 29, 2004

Bi-Polar and Schizophrenia Both Lack Myelin Genes

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology

Bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia share some of the same symptoms - notably hallucinations and delusions (during manic episodes for bipolar patients, during depressive or psychotic episodes for schizophrenia patients). Especially in children, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two conditions on the basis of clinical presentation alone. And schizoaffective disorder is even more similar, characterized by both the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia and the moodswing component of bi-polar.

In a recent autopsy study at the Department of Neurobiology, Babraham Institute, (Cambridge, UK), in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, (PubMed Abstract: 'Oligodendrocyte dysfunction in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder' Lancet 2003 Sep 6:362(9386):798-805), scientists identified a similar genetic foundation for the two disorders. When the genetic information in the brains of 30 affected patients (15 with schizophrenia, 15 with bi-polar) were compared with that of 15 normal subjects, several genes responsible for the synthesis of myelin were expressed in the normal subjects but in neither group of affected patients. The "missing" genes were not exactly the same for schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, but there was significant overlap.

Myelin, or the lack thereof, has been implicated in other research as a possible cause of schizophrenia symptoms. During normal development it sheaths neurons processes, protecting them and vastly increasing the speed and efficiency of signal transmission. Myelination is important for maturing development and behavior. A large portion of this process in the brain takes place during the teenage years; however, brainscans of adolescents with schizophrenia show prominent abnormalities in the myelin 'white matter' of the frontal lobes.

Scientists are now looking to determine whether the brain regions showing abnormal myelination are similar in both schizophrenia and bipolar patients.

To read more about abnormal myelination in adolescents with schizophrenia, see 'Faulty wiring in the brain may cause early-onset schizophrenia' (Schizophrenia Update, Jan 2004; available at 'Newsletter Back Issues' at www.schizophrenia.com)

To see more research about the similar genetic profiles of schizophrenia and other disorder such as bi-polar, see 'Schizophrenia and Manic Depression Share Gene Flaw' (Schizophrenia Update, Sept 2003; available at 'Newsletter Back Issues' at www.schizophrenia.com)

Source: Harvard Mental Health Letter, Jan 1 2004
HEADLINE: In Brief - Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia: A common basis?


I'm not sure how to put this all into words but i'm 16 years old and I have bipolar depression and Ive been seeing this little girl for about 2 years now and I think I have schizophrenia, I'm scared what should i do I'm 16 I don't wanna go nuts please help me

Posted by: Jessica Love at June 30, 2004 07:15 AM

I think you should see a psychologist, in the first place, how were you able to tell that you have schizophrenia? any way, with your bipolar depression, do well to see a psychologist or better still, a psychiatrist. All the best. take care and dont forget JESUS CARES SO MUCH ABOUT YOU.

Posted by: maame ekua at June 30, 2004 12:46 PM

i want to no if i have schizophrenia i think i do i hear voices i see things nobody else dose i thought my doc was posing me when i got my birth conroll i need help i cant get help because my parents wont let me and im only 15 but i just want to no whats going on in my head

Posted by: Lyndsay at July 1, 2004 02:49 AM

Not to metion I am SZ aff.

Posted by: Aaron at July 1, 2004 06:43 AM

I have bipolar and schizophrenia.And its hard to determine which is which so my best advise is go to the doctor.Because your not crazy.

Posted by: Kari at July 2, 2004 09:39 AM

A small but important correction: much of the work described was conducted at the Department of Neurobiology, Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK, (where the lead researcher and senior author of the paper, Sabine Bahn, is based).Researchers at Johns Hopkins participated but were not the lead laboratory.

Posted by: Fred at July 6, 2004 03:14 PM

To Fred: Thanks for the heads-up - the article summary has been changed.

Posted by: Julia at July 6, 2004 05:12 PM

I have a son who I believe is manic depressive. He heard voices at the beginning but paxil stopped that but now the two paxil have hime on a manic high. He is 36. He thinks he doesn't need a job. He has no money. He is sleeping in his car. we have tried to have hime live at our home but he becomes angry over a small thing and it is frightening. The only thing that interests him is baseball. I am not sure if he even kept his appointment this week. His doctor will not talk to me. My son has become very aggressive and argumentative and will not listen as he thinks he is right. Where can I seek help for him. I believe he is on a manic high. I am afraid of what will happen to him. Any suggestions will be more that welcome. He will not go to welfare for help as he thinks he can exist on no money. Meanwhile his bill are piling up. Help please.

Posted by: Rose at July 8, 2004 05:17 PM

I agree that schizophrenia comes from "faulty wiring".My son Kenny always had problems from age 2.Doctors diagnosed him with adhd at age 3.He was always aggressive ,couldnt keep friends,had social problems all his life.He wAs in and out of hospitals.At age 16 he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.He did change around age 15 but it seemed like he could never concentrate or sit still.He never slept right.I really believe it was totally genetic because I have other children with another man and they are "normal".He commited suicide shortly before his 17th birthday.I really feel like there should have been done more for him.After he died I found out he had an aunt who was alot like him who also ended her short life the same way he did at the same age.She also had schizophrenia.I really do believe it must have a tremendous genetic link.I always go to this website because I hope someday that they can find a cure for this horrible disease and I also hope that people with this disease will know theres always a tomorrow and hopefully there will be a great medication that will help them. They are always develpoing new medications and I bet one day there will be one without such bad side effects and hopefully it will be soon.I pray that no other family has to go through what our family has gone through.just remember that God is there and there is always tomorrow and tomorrow might bring something wonderful.

Posted by: Rebecca at July 10, 2004 04:33 AM

I have a 16 yr old daughter that is bipolar. She has been on medication for 3 yrs. I recently had her commited for severe mania & depress. She now is living at a mental health boarding school. When she was young (starting at 3 yrs) she would always talk about hearing voices. Her pchycatrist were aware of this. Then the voices stopped. Shortley after starting Depakot at 13. Now she see's red eyes "like wolves" and this little girl always staring at her. Some times the girl is on her bed, in the corner, by the bathroom etc. Her doctor is starting to think she is also Schizphrenic. Is bipolar conected? What can I do to support her & keep my own sanity.

Posted by: Laura at July 17, 2004 04:30 AM

I have a question and this may sound stupid but it's been bothering me for so long. At night when i'm lying in bed, i hear people talking. It sounds like a muffled TV in another room but i get up and walk around the house, nobody is awake and all TVs are off. I can't understand what these people are talking about but I hear them almost every night. I don't know if I'm going crazy or what but its scary. I always feel like somebody is around me. I always feel like a person is haunting me but i've never seen them. I always see weird shadows that look like somebody walked by out of the corner of my eye and i just don't understand. It's not like a ghost, its like a real person. Just the other night, I swear there was somebody turning a light on and off but there were no lights where I was looking. I don't know what I'm seeing and hearing. One more thing, I've got separation anxiety disorder and i'm 16 years old. I lost somebody close to me on my sixth birthday and i believe that triggered. A few times recently, I've dreamed that there's a little girl and shes crying so much. Somebody has her and won't leave her alone. I can'r see her though and its makes me so sad that I can't help her. I haven't dreamed about he rin a while though. I don't know where she came from. I'm sorry, this was so long but please help if you took the time to read this. Thank you.

Posted by: Arianna at July 26, 2004 04:40 AM

my depression startted when i was like 12 then at like 13 or 14 i was diagnosed with manic deppresive(bipolar disorder)ive been put on many medications i am 20 now n everything i have been on has eaither not helped at all or only worked for a short perioid of time im sick of taking medacations that dont workk im sick of feeling like my psychiatrist is usin me to try new medications im sick of being sick im sick of fellin like my life is goin nowhere i have 2 kids that i love more than ne thing n there tha only things that are keepin me alive but somtimes it gets so bad that my kids might not help keep me alive ne more my family puts me down they make me feel worse than i already do i feel like im stuck on a cliff n tha only way down is to jump no matter if it hurts me or ne one else im jsut sick of bein sick. so my ? is i nees some input on some meds that have worked for others n i need input on wat i should do i want to get better its im jsut sick of tha meds some make me feel more crazy i jsut need some input or sumthin i dont reallykno wat im lookin for or tryin to ask so if u could just email me at tru69blue@hotmail.com with ne thing ne one has got im feelin like im runnin out of choices....

Posted by: lill_thug_gurl [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 7, 2005 06:41 PM

my friend matt is 16 years old and i think he has schizophrenia but his parents wont do anything about it he is my best friend and he has been telling me that he has been hearing voices and having flashbacks of his past.we are both 16 and i think he has had this for about a year now and he hasent seen a doctor or anything i want hiim to go to the doctor but i dont no wut to say to him.if anyone reads this please email me and tell me wut to do cause i dont no..and the reason he is not goin to the doctor is because his dad said to him that it will go away by itself anyway please write me bak

Posted by: cody at October 17, 2005 08:20 AM

my friend matt is 16 years old and i think he has schizophrenia but his parents wont do anything about it he is my best friend and he has been telling me that he has been hearing voices and having flashbacks of his past.we are both 16 and i think he has had this for about a year now and he hasent seen a doctor or anything i want hiim to go to the doctor but i dont no wut to say to him.if anyone reads this please email me and tell me wut to do cause i dont no..and the reason he is not goin to the doctor is because his dad said to him that it will go away by itself anyway please write me bak my email address is blaze4life@hotmail.com

Posted by: cody at October 17, 2005 08:22 AM

I am 21 years old, I grown up with lots of family problem and most of the time I would hang out with frieds and drink and forgett about the world but maily my problems my deamons. I left for college and something just seem to happen to me, I began to exerience sycotic behavior and hearing and seeing hallutionations, I was full of anger. I new something was really wrong but I had no Idea It might be Scitzophrenia /Bi polar. It is the biggest struggle for me is my obsession of past times and basically living in the past, accompanied by nightmares. Peoples faces seem so alien to me somtimes and my voices are always talking to me. Im only 21 and had a lot of plans, Halfway done with my bachelors degree. I had a girl that I was going to be with forever but I did want her to see me like this. I dont think she ever new since it was when I was 21 this shit happend, I think about her everey day and my thougth obbssess about the way things should have been and if only we could have stayed together and if only i werent a complete ass. I love her so much. The guilt, the never ending guilt and passivity the loss, just not feeling in contol. So much to say. Lookin out of my lonely room days after day.

Posted by: Zach Osborn at November 8, 2005 09:42 PM

I'm 15 and I think I have schitzophrenia or depression or both. I hear voices and see shadows all the time and I always see my mother's ghost when I'm laying in bed before I go to sleep(she died when I was 11 days old). I have compulsions to tell lies but I don't mean to tell them and I never realize I'm lying until later. I always feel like someones spying on me and like someone's out to kill me and I 've been hallutionating that a car is moving straight at me when it's not moving at all and no one is in the car. I get depressed a lot and angry easily and I have a HUGE temper, if someone asks me something that I don't want to answer I'll fly off the handle and slam my door and be pissed for the rest of the day. Many of my friends think I have schizophrenia or some other disorder and I never believed them until a few days ago, I'm scared to go to a psycologist and I don't want to talk to my dad or my brother since I never lived with them until last year so I'm not comfortable around them yet. I don't know what to do I want to find answers, can somebody help me? I'm sorry if this is too long but i'd really appreciate it if someone could help me out, just e-mail me if you could help thanks.

Posted by: Lisa at December 1, 2005 01:19 PM

i am 13 and i found out im nearly anorexic. im trying to gain weight but im so scared of being sick that when i go 2 bed i can never go to sleep i feel really stupid because im scared of going to sleep because im scared of waking up and bein sick please help me

Posted by: amy at December 28, 2005 04:01 PM

Hey, i have aspergers syndrome and that doesnt bother me at all. But what im really worried about is that i think i have Schizophrenia, i dont hullucinate or hear voices but my brain is just completely blank all the time for around 4 months. I have alot of the symptoms. Im turning crazy and i dont like it at all. I told my mam but she just says im fine and gets fed up with me telling her that my brain isnt functioning properly. And im just not happy anymore. i hit my head a while ago and i kept thinking that triggered whatever i have but you cant get mental illness from head injuries, thats would have to be physical. I cant sleep at all i try getting up early so i will be tired in the nightime but its not working i go to sleep at 4:00 every night!!! i really wish my brain was back to normal, thats the best dream i could ever have. I just feel my life is complete shit and i dont want to take medication to solve the problem, "Nature invented the problem nature will fix it" thats what i believe why would nature invent such a horrble disease and not cure it? I had so many dreams of being a drummer, or leading a succesful life, but their long shattered my mind just seems to be blank all the time, it plagues me everyday, i just cant stop thinking and thinking. I spend my days looking through books and the internet for ideas of whats wrong with me, here are some of the ideas ive come up with (some are very stupid): concussion,dyspraxia,depression and schizophrenia. If i ever do become succesful im going to donate most of my money to charity and neuro research foundations, i dont want to be reliant on medication for the rest of my life, i want to live a normal productive life.......

Posted by: Rhys at January 7, 2006 03:55 PM

Guys I want to know if it's possible to have both schizophrenia and bipolar at the same time? If so then what would I be in the future? A sick man or something... God... I really don't want this. Give me an answer. I visit psychiatry clinc once per month and I want to know what I'm having, my doctor said that I'm having both (schizophrenia and bipolar,)But I don't really believe in that. I feel like having thought disorder and mood disorder.

Posted by: Thomas at March 3, 2006 05:57 AM

A friend of mine has confided in me that she hears voices telling her horrible negative things about herself. She also sees hallucinations that are scary to her. She said this all started when she was a teenager. I've looked up information about schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. These are the only two characteristics that fit. SHe is highly motivated. She just graduated from medical school. SHe is extremely intelligent and talented. If I were to describe her personality I would say she is ideal: she's a peacemaker, excellent listener, kind, patient. In the last two years though, she has started binge drinking and smoking but will lie to your face that she is doing it when you can smell it or find cigarettes on her. She doesn't want to see a doctor. She is afraid that she won't be able to practice medicine any more if she is labeled and she has $...,... in school loans. Are there any other possible diagnosis'?

Posted by: kathy at March 5, 2006 05:44 PM

I just found out last night that my youngest daughter is bipolar. It terrifies me because there is a long history of bipolar in the previous generations. Her great grandmother was Manic Bipolar and her father is polarmanic schizophrenic. Apparently medications were not of much help to her dad and great grandma. I am very scared that she may wind up like them. She is not even 11 yet. The rest of the family has tried to push medications on her father but he never co-operates with the treatments due to financial instability. He is the type that would rather be incarcerated than even try to be a productive member of society. So when he is not in jail or prision he is on the street for maybe 6-9 months and then screws up and goes back to jail. Is there no help financially for those with these types of disorders? I need to know so that she can get her medicines all her life. I do not want to end up having a Physically abusive daughter later in life. I have been with too many bipolar individuals other than her father all were abusive. I am really scared for her and others saftey.

Posted by: heather at April 13, 2006 06:57 AM

Hello, recently i have been feeling very dead, i have dark bags under my eyes and i feel like i am always sick. I also see minor hallucinations, like things moving in the corner of my eyes, or thinking a door is closing, but when i look at it,it is still stationary, and i also am paranoid all the time. I think someone is watching me all the time. I cant get my sleeping pattern back on track and usually stay up till the wee hours of the morning. I also am very self concious about the way i look, like i am a freak and i look like i dont belong in modern day society, but i wish i was accepted, because i feel like i can offer alot to everyone i meet. I am tired of trying to make a conversation and people look at me like i am a martian. I wish i could get past this, is there any suggestions that would help me out a little bit?

Posted by: George at July 11, 2006 03:03 AM

my docter dienosed me with pc

Posted by: sarah at October 28, 2006 12:47 PM

i dont hear voices in my hear or anything, but im constantly paranoid! explaining why im on here! my teacher said disorganised people (like me)are more likely to suffer schizphrenia...im also constantly paranoid that my dad will have a heat attack or i will get cancer or something! is this normal!?!?!? plz email me sum1!

Posted by: tom at November 9, 2006 08:14 AM

is schizophrenia a serious problem? like a desease that absolutly has to be fixed? can it be fixed on its own? b/c i think im a schizophrenic but i havent had the obvious symptomes like seeing things or hearing voices (well i did hear them at one point a few years ago, but they are gone now) but i do have just about all the other side effects: racing mind, lack of focas, social withdraw, i care too much what others think, i dont show my emotions hardly ever, often feel like i have no energy or am in slow motion, I feel like people are after me for some sort of power i posess. i am only 16, but i have had these symptomes all my life. actually, some seem to be getting better. i am not as anti social as i used to be,and i show my emotions a little bit more. but my mind is even harder to control than it used to be.
the thought that i might be a schizophrenic brought my whole world crashing down on me. i cant very well tell my parents, the wont believe me for starters, and my mom is on kemo and we cant afford to go to a tharipist or anything. some one PLZ help me! if you want to email me its artistdakitty@gmail.com just someone to understand would help at this point.

Posted by: terra at April 12, 2007 08:07 AM

Most of these stories are intriguing,amazing or spooky. However, I think I can relate. When I was 11 and 12 I could sometimes hear someone talking,it was like a real voice talking and you could hear it but it was in your head.I could tell it was in my head kinda, but it was strange(I generally wouldnt ask someone if they hear someone talking) Now the talking would be something like a wierd narrative and it really wasnt pertinent to what was at hand. It was just talking and I thought it may have been my conscious but I was just a young boy. I don't hear voices now or for the past 25+ years as I'm pushing 40.

Posted by: car at May 13, 2007 08:19 PM

I have a disabled adult in the home. They have both Bi-polar and Schizophrenic tendencies. They take many medications. Haldol has helped them the best. They have developed a treamor in one hand. I am able to manage them on Haldol.

Posted by: James Klich at November 26, 2007 09:52 PM

Hi i'm 16 years old and i've had a really awful 5 years at secondary school. The students there were really awful and impolite and use to get bullied quite a bit in my tutor group. Now i've left and theese girls that i had a fight with at school always used to act weird and traumatise me. now i hear voices of their names and that i shoul wish them good luck or i should be friends with them but this is not how i feel. they always used to stare at me and now because of this i feel that people are talking about me or staring and trust me some people do stare even and it makes me feel angry because i hate being stared at as i feel too ugly to be looked at. sometimes i just don't want to exist because i feel too ugly to be in this world. i told my doctor i think i have shcizophrenia but he said i don't as schizophrenia people usually believe in delusions and said i should block the voices. but everytime i do they still there and i feel like i can never escape my horrifying past ever again.

Posted by: joe at December 4, 2007 02:01 PM

Hi, for the past few years Ive had hallucinations on and off for only short periods of around a month at a time. Usually during a time of stress like finals or busy times at work. It happens alot when I'm in bed asleep or awake. I've woken up in the middle of the night to see the TV on and someone talking to me on it, I've woken up to see to see my clock crawling across my floor or my roommates sweater dancing. While this happens I am fully conscious and awake and have sometimes even known i was hallucinating and laughed at it. Although there has been scary ones where I was sitting up talking on the phone with my friend for several minutes and I could hear his voice and everything but when I looked over the phone was on the table and disappeared from my hand this last one is what worries me the most because I was fully awake for this. I was wondering if this is schizophrenia or just stress induced?

Posted by: John at March 31, 2008 09:29 AM

To all... You are loved exactly the way you are. There is nothing wrong with seeing a psychologist / psychiatrist / school guidance counselor. In addition to traditional approaches try this:

First thing... take wheat out of your diet for at least 2 weeks. Brain fog and depression are most commonly caused by an allergy to wheat / gluten. This is largely connected to autism since severe gluten allergy mimics autism.

... eat lots of veggies. The photo chemicals are great for your immune system.

You still need to continue with medications prescribed by your doctor. Sometimes stress can be a factor in depression / numbing of the brain.

Posted by: Kate at April 14, 2008 07:49 PM

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