June 22, 2005

Genes, Schizophrenia, & Medication

Understanding schizophrenia genes

Though approximately 70 percent of people diagnosed with schizophrenia respond to medication, many develop unpleasant side effects. Dr. Mowry, Associate Professor and Director of the Genetics Program at the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) discusses his study and the possible positive impact its results may have on the development of new medications. The study conducted by Mowry and a team of researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia, "is at the forefront of an international project to identify genes associated with schizophrenia..." Dr. Mowry states that "the cause of schizophrenia has a strong genetic component...His work aims to identify genes for this (disorder)..."

"Evidence from family, twin and adoption studies clearly demonstrates that schizophrenia clusters in families and this is largely due to genetic factors," Dr Mowry said. "However, epidemiological data and molecular genetic studies demonstrate that susceptibility to schizophrenia is likely to be the result of many genes interacting with each other and with environmental risk factors."

Thus, Dr. Mowry believes that "identifying and understanding" these genes may aid in developing better drug treatments. Although, many people diagnosed with schizophrenia get better with medication, some medications have undesired side effects. Thus, if the genes associated with schizophrenia were identified, perhaps, new treatments could be developed to "target the causes" instead of the disorder itself.

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