This past week, two important research studies stirred the schizophrenia world. Spanning 45 countries and using more than 10 years worth of data, the research studies analysed the DNA from 76,755 people with schizophrenia and 243,649 without it to better understand the genes and biological processes underpinning the condition.  

Published in Nature, these studies are said to produce the clearest findings on the genetic basis of schizophrenia so far. They have found the largest number of genetic links to schizophrenia than ever before, in 287 different regions of the genome. Getting such clarity on the genetic basis of schizophrenia is a huge step towards understanding its causes and coming up with better treatments for people living with schizophrenia.  

 “Although there are large numbers of genetic variants involved in schizophrenia, the study showed they are concentrated in genes expressed in neurons, pointing to these cells as the most important site of pathology. The findings also suggest abnormal neuron function in schizophrenia affects many brain areas, which could explain its diverse symptoms, which can include hallucinations, delusions and problems with thinking clearly.”

Science Daily

Having more knowledge of the genetic basis of schizophrenia also contributes significantly to the possible early diagnosis of the disorder. When identified and treated early, the quality of life for people living with schizophrenia significantly improves.  

Furthermore, these studies included more than 7,000 people with either African American or Latino ancestries which may mean that the results will help people beyond those with European ancestries. Since culture and race have historically always affected the accessibility and efficacy of medical support for severe and persistent mental illness, this study can be a small but a crucial step towards filling in this huge gap.  

Read more about the studies here: