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Scientists Getting Closer To Finding Out The Cause Of Schizophrenia

Update Date: Jan 29, 2016 12:10 PM EST

Uncovering the complex mystery of schizophrenia has been an elusive research endeavor until now. A transformative landmark study is bringing the world closer to a clearer understanding of the psychiatric disorder based on a rigorously-tested genetic analysis.

The neurological disease currently affects nearly two million Americans or about 2% of US population. Symptoms include emotional withdrawal, deteriorating cognitive abilities, delusion, and hallucination.

The Harvard Medical School-led study featured in the scientific journal Nature provided explanations to the disease's elusive origins and reveals why the neurological disorder usually sets in young adulthood or even in adolescence.

"They did a phenomenal job. This paper gives us a foothold, something we can work on, and that's what we've been looking for now, for a long, long time," remarked genetics professor David B. Goldstein of Columbia University as quoted by New York Times.

According to a report by The Washington Post, schizophrenia is linked to inherited variants of a gene responsible for accelerated or intensified 'synaptic pruning'- a shedding of weak or unusable neuron connections.

Although it's too early to celebrate while the breakthrough study is still in its watershed stage, scientists are hoping that the research will lay the foundations for developing the means for early detection and possible treatments.

"Because the molecular origins of psychiatric diseases are little-understood, efforts by pharmaceutical companies to pursue new therapeutics are few and far between. This study changes the game," said National Institute of Mental Health acting director Bruce Cuthbert as mentioned in a report by Gizmodo.

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