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Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Not Caused by Genes, Scientist Says

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: schizophrenia, health news, Natural News


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(NaturalNews) There is no connection between schizophrenia and the genes most commonly believed to cause the condition, according to a study conducted by 23 researchers from Australia, France and the United States, and published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Since the 1970s, psychiatrists have argued over whether genetics or the environment contributes more to the development of schizophrenia. In the current study, researchers examined the connection between the occurrence of schizophrenia and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) - a minor difference in DNA. A total of 433 SNPs were examined among people of European descent.

"We did not detect a significant association of schizophrenia with SNPs in 14 candidate genes that have been of great interest to the field," the authors wrote. "Our results suggest that, taken together, common DNA variants in these 14 genes are unlikely to explain a large proportion of the genetic risk for schizophrenia in populations of European ancestry."

In an accompanying editorial, Steven Hamilton of the University of California's Institute for Human Genetics called the study the "most comprehensive" examination of the link between schizophrenia and genetics to date.

"The reason that this latest study did not find evidence for a gene is that there are no such genes," said Jay Joseph, author of "The Missing Gene: Psychiatry, Heredity, and the Fruitless Search for Genes."

"For 25 years, psychiatry has been looking for a schizophrenia gene," he said. "They keep failing."

"Research has never shown any link between genes and schizophrenia," said Mary Boyle, emeritus professor of clinical psychology from the University of East London. "There has been a vast amount of time and money spent. Yet nothing has come from it. If people want to continue this research, good luck to them. But my worry is that they are being given public funding."

Yet research into the genetics of schizophrenia is likely to continue, Joseph said.

"Many people have dedicated their life to the genetics of schizophrenia," he said.
"And they are not going to now turn around and they have been wrong."

Sources for this story include: psychminded.co.uk.

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