Dozens of DNA changes may underlie troubling mental disorder
By combing through the genomes of over 30,000 people with schizophrenia, scientists have found more than 100 stretches of DNA that may raise a person’s risk of the disorder. Although it’s the largest genetic investigation of a psychiatric disorder, the study provides only clues to the disease’s origins — not answers.
The mega-analysis, published July 22 in Nature, is an important and necessary step toward developing new treatments for schizophrenia, says study coauthor Michael O’Donovan, a psychiatrist at the Cardiff University School of Medicine in Wales. But the heart of the disorder is still a mystery. “People shouldn’t be phoning up their doctors tomorrow and saying, ‘What’s this stuff done for treatment?’ That’s going to take years to filter through,” he says.
About 1 percent of Americans have schizophrenia, a disorder marked by hallucinations, paranoia and dysfunctional ways of