I frequently scan numerous sites in search of the “miracle.” On Feb. 2, 2011, I found a reason for hope on the website of the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (www.narsad.org), a charity I support. Part of the article is as follows:
“In a major advance for schizophrenia research, an international team of scientists, led by Jonathan Sebat, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and cellular and molecular medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has identified a gene mutation linked to the brain disorder—and a signaling pathway that may be treatable with existing compounds.
The work poses significant and immediate implications for neurobiology and treatment of schizophrenia because the gene identified by the researchers is an especially attractive target for drug development.”
The next step, according to the article, is testing on mice and cultured human cells that carry the mutation. The gene mentioned is VIPR2, which causes duplications at the tip of chromosome 7q. (You can, of course, also google the doctor’s name, the gene, and the chromosome for more info.)
On an additional, somewhat related topic, a member at a NAMI meeting (National Alliance of Mental Illness) mentioned that her son, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia about six years ago, has Lyme disease. They now suspect he never had schizophrenia, after all, and he is on a course of antibiotics to treat his infection. Testing for Lyme involves a blood sample. The first sign of Lyme is usually a bulls-eye rash. If the disease is not caught in its early stages it can affect the brain, nerves, eyes, and joints. Most people with schizophrenia do not have Lyme, but it may be worth considering, especially for those who are newly diagnosed.
Let’s hope that scientists are now on the right track and that these recent discoveries will result in better treatment for all the devastating mental illnesses which plague our human family.