Better ways to treat schizophrenia found

September 4th, 2008 - 12:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Sep 4 (IANS) A newly-identified brain receptor that stimulates growth in adolescence but whose expression is stunted in schizophrenics may hold the key to treating this dreaded disease.Researcher Cyndi Shannon Weickert has identified the receptor, potentially opening up new approaches to treat schizophrenia, commencing with a three-year clinical trial of a drug this month. Her findings appeared in the latest issue of the journal Human Molecular Genetics.

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and debilitating brain disease. Victims often suffer terrifying symptoms like hearing internal voices or believing that other people are plotting against them, reading their minds or controlling their thoughts.

Weickert, who led the research and holds Australia’s first Chair of Schizophrenia Research, said “we now know that this brain receptor doesn’t work in the normal way for people with schizophrenia.

“With this drug trial we can begin to stimulate it and try and get the neuro-developmental programme back on track. For some patients we could see improvements in language and memory.”

The trial aims to learn how this hormonal modulator can influence thought processing in schizophrenia and determine whether it could be used as a novel therapeutic treatment for cognitive problems in patients.

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