Emerging evidence suggests that many people with schizophrenia have small genetic abnormalities that affected their brain in childhood and adolescence. In a series of new studies on adult-onset schizophrenia scientists from the National Institute for Health in the U.S. found that people with the condition possessed high rates of rare genetic deletions and duplications that apparently disrupted their brain during youth. The genes affected in patients were involved in creating the infrastructure by which neurons communicate, neuronal growth, migration, proliferation, differentiation and cell death. The genetic abnormalities were found in 15% of the adult-onset patients and 20% of the childhood- or adolescent-onset schizophrenia sufferers compared to only 5% of a healthy control group. The mutations occured across the whole of the genome and were often specific to single cases or families ; virtually every mutation in a sample of 150 adults with schizophrenia was different.
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