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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are there specific genes that cause schizophrenia?

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    Richard Hill

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    Resident counsellor/psychotherapist at the Davis Health Centre with a solution focused approach; an international lecturer on the neuroscience and psychosocial genomics of human behaviour; author … View Profile

    There are two answers to this question. Schizophrenia does seem to have a genetic relationship. So, for example monozygotic twins or twins that look the same and are the same and have the same genes may tend to have a high co-development of schizophrenia. Whereas those that are not identical twins, they have a lower coincidence of schizophrenia. So, there is some indication that there is a genetic basis to it. However schizophrenia is not a single dose issue. It is a complex. When people talk about schizophrenia, they really should talk about the schizophrenic complex like we do with a variety of other issues like bipolar, ADD and autism. It is a spectrum of issues. Back to the questions, no there is no standard or specific gene but rather a grouping but there also seems to be some degree of heredity involved in this.

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    Differences in more than a hundred genes have been linked to risk of schizophrenia.

    A recent (free-access but very technical) paper describes this: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v511/n7510/full/nature13595.html

    To my knowledge, none of those differences have led to new therapeutic approaches but this is still at the “basic science” stage.

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