Medical research

Relational memory in early psychosis

Relational memory—the ability to form contextual relationships between individual items—is impaired in chronic schizophrenia and has been linked to hippocampal dysfunction. Whether relational memory impairment exists ...

Neuroscience

Why is the brain disturbed by harsh sounds?

Why do the harsh sounds emitted by alarms or human shrieks grab our attention? What is going on in the brain when it detects these frequencies? Neuroscientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and Geneva University Hospitals ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Don't stay silent on suicide

Suicide can be difficult to talk about due to the cultural stigma surrounding it and the devastating and lasting impact it has on people, families and communities. But it's important to do so.

Neuroscience

Lab examines migraine-like phenotypes in nematode

Researchers at UMass Medical School have uncovered a mechanism that causes an imbalance in excitatory and inhibitory signaling in the nervous system. This research, which was carried out using the nematode C. elegans and ...

Medical research

Preventing the onset of schizophrenia in a mouse model

Although predisposing processes occur earlier, schizophrenia emerges at young adulthood, suggesting it might involve a pathological transition during late brain development in predisposed individuals. Using a genetic mouse ...

Genetics

Scientists identify gene as master regulator in schizophrenia

Using computational tools to investigate gene transcription networks in large collections of brain tissues, a scientific team has identified a gene that acts as a master regulator of schizophrenia during early human brain ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Dietary supplement may help with schizophrenia

A dietary supplement, sarcosine, may help with schizophrenia as part of a holistic approach complementing antipsychotic medication, according to a UCL researcher.

Neuroscience

How the brain filters sounds

The sound environment is extremely dense, which is why the brain has to adapt and implement filtering mechanisms that allow it to hold its attention on the most important elements and save energy. When two identical sounds ...

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Schizophrenia (/ˌskɪtsɵˈfrɛniə/ or /ˌskɪtsɵˈfriːniə/) is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction. The onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood, with a global lifetime prevalence of about 0.3–0.7%. Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the patient's reported experiences.

Genetics, early environment, neurobiology, and psychological and social processes appear to be important contributory factors; some recreational and prescription drugs appear to cause or worsen symptoms. Current research is focused on the role of neurobiology, although no single isolated organic cause has been found. The many possible combinations of symptoms have triggered debate about whether the diagnosis represents a single disorder or a number of discrete syndromes. Despite the etymology of the term from the Greek roots skhizein (σχίζειν, "to split") and phrēn, phren- (φρήν, φρεν-; "mind"), schizophrenia does not imply a "split mind" and it is not the same as dissociative identity disorder—also known as "multiple personality disorder" or "split personality"—a condition with which it is often confused in public perception.

The mainstay of treatment is antipsychotic medication, which primarily suppresses dopamine (and sometimes serotonin) receptor activity. Psychotherapy and vocational and social rehabilitation are also important in treatment. In more serious cases—where there is risk to self and others—involuntary hospitalization may be necessary, although hospital stays are now shorter and less frequent than they once were.

The disorder is thought mainly to affect cognition, but it also usually contributes to chronic problems with behavior and emotion. People with schizophrenia are likely to have additional (comorbid) conditions, including major depression and anxiety disorders; the lifetime occurrence of substance abuse is almost 50%. Social problems, such as long-term unemployment, poverty and homelessness, are common. The average life expectancy of people with the disorder is 12 to 15 years less than those without, the result of increased physical health problems and a higher suicide rate (about 5%).

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