In the world’s largest study of schizophrenia, researchers have found more than 100 genes that enhance the risk of developing the severe brain disorder – 80 of which have never before been discovered.
This groundbreaking research ends a long debate on whether or not biology plays a significant role in schizophrenia – a condition which affects more than 24 million people worldwide.
Led by Cardiff University, the study – which involved the input of 35 countries – examined the genetic makeup of 37,000 people with schizophrenia, using a control group of 110,000 people without the disease.
Many of the genes they discovered play an important role in the relaying of chemical messages around the brain, while the others help to keep the immune system functioning properly.
Lead researcher, prof Michael O’Donovan said: “For many years it has been difficult to develop new lines of treatment for schizophrenia, hampered by a poor understanding of the biology of disease.