Genetics

Study explores cognitive function in people with mental illness

A study funded by the Veterans Administration and directed by researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has shown few differences in the profiles of genes that influence cognition between people with ...

Neuroscience

Compound lights up brain receptors in PET scans

A radiotracer specifically binds to a major class of brain receptors when injected into living rats and humans, lighting them up in PET scans. The compound, called [11C]K-2, was designed and tested by a large team of scientists ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Lifetime suicide risk factors identified

A review of studies into suicide risk factors at different stages of peoples' lives, as well as of the effectiveness of assessment and treatment approaches, has found that while some factors such as genetics and family history ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Air pollution in childhood linked to schizophrenia

Air pollution affects physical health, and research results now conclude that it also affects our psychological health. The study, which combines genetic data from iPSYCH with air pollution data from the Department of Environmental ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Long-term medication for schizophrenia is safe

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and their colleagues in Germany, the U.S. and Finland have studied the safety of very long-term antipsychotic therapy for schizophrenia. According to the study, which is published ...

Neuroscience

A molecular switch for repairing central nervous system disorders

A molecular switch has the ability to turn on a substance in animals that repairs neurological damage in disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Mayo Clinic researchers discovered. The early research in animal models could ...

Genetics

The gene responsible for cognitive defects in Down syndrome

Learning and memory impairments in a Down syndrome mouse model were reversed by correcting expression of a gene that influences the generation of new neurons in the brain. The finding could pave the way to treat the cognitive ...

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Schizophrenia (/ˌskɪtsɵˈfrɛniə/ or /ˌskɪtsɵˈfriːniə/) is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction. The onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood, with a global lifetime prevalence of about 0.3–0.7%. Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the patient's reported experiences.

Genetics, early environment, neurobiology, and psychological and social processes appear to be important contributory factors; some recreational and prescription drugs appear to cause or worsen symptoms. Current research is focused on the role of neurobiology, although no single isolated organic cause has been found. The many possible combinations of symptoms have triggered debate about whether the diagnosis represents a single disorder or a number of discrete syndromes. Despite the etymology of the term from the Greek roots skhizein (σχίζειν, "to split") and phrēn, phren- (φρήν, φρεν-; "mind"), schizophrenia does not imply a "split mind" and it is not the same as dissociative identity disorder—also known as "multiple personality disorder" or "split personality"—a condition with which it is often confused in public perception.

The mainstay of treatment is antipsychotic medication, which primarily suppresses dopamine (and sometimes serotonin) receptor activity. Psychotherapy and vocational and social rehabilitation are also important in treatment. In more serious cases—where there is risk to self and others—involuntary hospitalization may be necessary, although hospital stays are now shorter and less frequent than they once were.

The disorder is thought mainly to affect cognition, but it also usually contributes to chronic problems with behavior and emotion. People with schizophrenia are likely to have additional (comorbid) conditions, including major depression and anxiety disorders; the lifetime occurrence of substance abuse is almost 50%. Social problems, such as long-term unemployment, poverty and homelessness, are common. The average life expectancy of people with the disorder is 12 to 15 years less than those without, the result of increased physical health problems and a higher suicide rate (about 5%).

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