New Neurobiology Knowledge May Lead To Schizophrenia Research and Treatments
Researchers at UC Irvine have discovered new facts about the brain's neurons -- facts that that may be useful in schizophrenia research and treatments. Neurons are the cells of the brain that communicate and process information. Neurons are made up of several parts (shown below).
Originally we believed that the Axon was simply an information highway that passed signals from the dendrites, to the axon terminals and then to the neighboring neuron. But this new research has found there may be so much more - in basic terms the axons may not only transfer information, but may also alter/influence the information. Therefore the axon has cognitive influences and includes receptors just like other parts of the neuron. (The linked article includes a great jargon free explanation for those not familiar with neurobiology)
They discovered this new information about the axon by researching cognitive enhancement of nicotine. Nicotine’s benefits were not understood in the other parts of the neuron, but then researchers found it to be influencing the axon, with the neurotransmitter acetylcholine; commonly known as the cognitive or memory neurotransmitter.
"This discovery was huge," Metherate, the lead researcher said. "This is a part of the brain that was thought did not do cognitive processes. The result of our study suggests that we must consider the axons as sites of information processing -- and of potential problems when things go wrong."
This may be applied to schizophrenia research because we already know most schizophrenic brains show less white matter, which are the axons and myelin sheath that cover the axons. And if these axons are in fact altering neural messages, a deficit in them or their functioning may an influencing factor in schizophrenia. This is just one theory/hypothesis, and is preliminary, but nonetheless intriguing. Also, Nicotine has been shown to decrease auditory symptoms in people with schizophrenia, and we know that nicotine influences the axon—another preliminary connection to schizophrenia.
"For schizophrenics the question becomes, are there not enough axon receptors, or simply not enough axons?"
Scientists will now move to locating the axon's chemical receptors - the key to information processing - and seeing what role they may play in how schizophrenics process sound.
Discovery leads to schizophrenia questions
Posted by Michelle Roberts at August 26, 2007 12:57 PM
More Information on Schizophrenia Biology
This kind of research makes me wonder how much pharmaceutical companies actual know about their medications we freely take, if people are still in the discovery stage of schizophrenia, how can they categorically state what the medications are actually doing to the brain?
Posted by: Salty Davis at August 26, 2007 03:51 PM
Good point, Salty.
The answer appears to me to be that they don't know that much (compared to the whole truth) but rather a bunch of facts that scientists are still struggling to put together.
And pharmaceutical companies do tend to promote an oversimplified version of what their drugs do, as they are ultimately all about selling whatever drug they produce and making profits.
On the other hand, most people can't begin to understand the complexities involved, especially if they have a severe mental disorder.
I've noticed that the beneficial aspects seem to get a simplified cheery presentation while the side effects get the rapid fire commercial ending voice or technical terms small print.
Posted by: Phillip J. Fry at August 30, 2007 10:35 AM
By the way, regarding my previous comment on Salty's original comment, I just wanted to add:
And that's why schizophrenia.com is a great site! Thanks site maintainers!
Posted by: Phillip J. Fry at August 30, 2007 10:36 AM
Suhari's commentary as follows :
The philosophical subjectivity is the Barrier in Research Methology, which is the Question ,"How can Brain study Brain?". It is the same like, that We ask a Deli Imbiss Owner ", Is the Food in your Deli good." We canalways expect a yes-answer.
The second thing is that we do not want to be involved in conspiracy theory about Pharmaceutical Industry because is the Schiz terrain is far more difficult than Cancer. This statement came from Prof Liebermann UCLA, while at Keio Symposium in Japan a few years back. The book is from Springer Verlag, with the title ""Comprehensive Treatment of Schiz"".
Furthermore check out my website at Utah and MIT OpenLearningSupport :
or just search my name : suhari bunadi in google dot com.
Prof Ichramsyah's office
at Library, or
Posted by: Suhari Bunadi at September 18, 2007 12:25 AM
For The Attentian of : Prof Sohee Park, Vanderbilt
The idea is Harmonized Asyncronous Fourier Spectral Syntesis Entity Endoscopy, which is to be positioned at The Bridge; Corpus Collosum, with the consideration Schroedinger Partial Differential Equation and Werner Heisenberg Wahrscheinlichkeit Principle in Wave Mechanics.
Suhari Bunadi BSc
Professor at MIT and Utah State University OLS
OLS = Open Learning Support
Posted by: Suhari Bunadi at October 31, 2007 09:40 PM
Considering that the brain is the most complex organ in the body I guess there still are and will be facts we will never know about it. There are so many cases of people waking up from a coma when the doctors said it's impossible and cases of brain regeneration when no one believed in life expectancy.
Posted by: notmini at February 7, 2008 08:21 AM