May 17, 2007

Emory University Awarded Grant for Schizophrenia Gene Research

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Emory University School of Medicine a $3.6 million research grant to test patients with schizophrenia for a recently discovered variation in the human genome. The project is led by Stephen T. Warren, PhD, Timmie Professor and chair of the Department of Human Genetics.

Schizophrenia is a severe and common psychiatric disorder that has a strong genetic predisposition. Despite the knowledge that genetic changes can lead to the disorder, however, few genes have been identified.

Recently, scientists have discovered an entirely new and previously unknown form of variation in the human genome, called "copy number variation," or CNV. This variation includes deletions and duplications of segments of DNA previously unrecognized in the general population. Scientists now believe every individual may carry as many as 100 CNVs. While these variations generally do not cause disease on their own, says Dr. Warren, in combination with other genetic changes and/or environmental factors they may well contribute to one's overall risk of disease.

Using cutting-edge technology available to only a few major research centers, the Emory project will screen a collection of 500 schizophrenic patients and 500 controls (individuals without schizophrenia) for CNV throughout the entire human genome.

The new technology uses "DNA chips," manufactured by NimbleGen Systems, Inc., that can compare DNA copy number differences in a reference genome to the genomes of the individuals being screened. Scientists can array 2.1 million locations in the genome, or about one in every 1,000 base pairs, on a single chip the size of a microscope slide. The project team will use the new Emory high performance computer cluster to analyze the data.

"By helping us identify CNVs, we believe this new kind of chip technology may lead us to the specific genes that influence schizophrenia and other major psychiatric diseases," Dr. Warren says.

The schizophrenia project is the first involvement in a disorder other than fragile X syndrome in over a decade for Dr. Warren, who is well know for his discoveries regarding this frequent form of mental retardation.

The Emory scientists are collaborating with Ann E. Pulver, ScD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University, who collected the samples to be tested.

This press release was issued by the Emory University School of Medicine.


I will be frank. Balance is very important to the human being. The right hand is paired with the left side of the brain and the left hand is paired with the right side of the brain. it would result in a imbalance in the real purpose is dopeamine. Like any drug it will lead to dependency and then a pleasurable addiction beyond ones control. Even if you had a partner you would find youself still doing it because of the feeling you get before, during and after. If you were right handed for instance, the right side of your brain would then start having a numb sensation and the "rush" more exiting but troubling. Because the imabalance of yourself would grow and grow as time goes on as the most basic need of a human being and so happens to be everywhere in the world now goes more primative. Let me just plea that the body has much control over the mind and vica COULD be born with the subconcious need to be on the same level as his hereditery genes have always been. a certain conciousness with a desire for the same kind of pleasure and pain....understand please, that semotion and schizophrenia are very close...find the root of their desires and veiws on life and find that it is not a question of genetics...but rather a state of mind within current day society.

Posted by: Hans Joseph Severinsen at May 17, 2007 02:19 PM

If you have any questions for a man that suffers from this strange condition, e-mail me.

Posted by: Hans Joseph Severinsen at May 17, 2007 02:23 PM

i am 22 and i am someone that has learned to cope with the severity of my illness. i have schizophrenia. i believe i have the symptoms of schizophrenia. i remain calm and keep strong faith in myself spiritually, physically, and mentally. a real buddha. in the world around me i take note that life is getting better every day. progress slowly begins to accelerate exponentially over time. a clear idea forms that i have schizophrenia and i smile. without any help from the outside i may still be sick. with genetic information there is the hope that proof of the condition will exist in our genes. this little amount of info is exciting. i can tell you the biggest issue- not believing you have it when you do. that is the ONLY thing i learned from living in a mental institution for a year with other schizophrenics.

Posted by: tyler at May 19, 2007 10:27 PM

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