Genetic Factors of Schizophrenia

by Garreth Myers


A lot of recent researches have shown that there is a large genetic component when it comes to schizophrenia. In fact, even those who have a third degree relative with the symptoms of schizophrenia are at a relatively increased likelihood of developing this condition. The first degree relatives of schizophrenics have a substantially higher likelihood of developing the symptoms themselves.

Schizophrenia: Is it genetic? Interestingly, researches have also found that the correlations of schizophrenia in people who have identical genomes, such as identical twins, are not as high. This study has led researchers to believe that though there are some schizophrenia genetic factors, it is not entirely genetic and there are a lot of other factors that affect schizophrenia. While schizophrenia genetic predisposition plays an important part in the pathology of this condition, there are a lot of environmental factors that contribute to it as well. A lot of cases of schizophrenia can be prevented. There are a lot of genes that contribute to the development of schizophrenia, but alone, none of them could take full responsibility of the condition. A number of gene variations could cause an increased likelihood of schizophrenia. The more number of gene variations a person has, the higher is the likelihood of developing schizophrenia. A gene, known as the COMT, can become abnormal and deplete the dopamine in the frontal lobes. This can eventually cause hallucinations as well as distort the brains ability to perceive reality and distinguish it from hallucinations.

A lot of people wonder is schizophrenia a genetic disorder, and the answer is yes. However, it is important to understand that there is a lot of interplay of the genes with the environment as well. If a person experiences a lot of environmental factors linked to schizophrenia, it also has almost as much effect on them as schizophrenia genetic inheritance. A combination of both factors environmental and genetic, can cause schizophrenia in people. A person with any level of genetic predisposition of schizophrenia, when thrown into an environment which fosters schizophrenia, is almost sure to develop the condition during their lifetime. Thus paranoid schizophrenia and genetics are also closely related. The early signs of schizophrenia are usually seen during adolescence. However, if the exposure to schizophrenia linked environment is constant, the signs of the condition could manifest themselves much earlier than that. Some of the environmental factors that could affect someone include persistent drug use during adolescence, high stress experienced during youth, birth complications and exposure to toxins during pregnancy. Some of the other risk factors include births in winter and spring, when the mothers experience famine during famine during the first trimester are also likely to develop schizophrenia.

Since it has been seen that there are a lot of genetic factors which could cause schizophrenia, it is important to ensure that you know about your family's health history. If you know about the medical history of your family, and there has been someone in your family who showed symptoms of schizophrenia, discussing this with the doctor can help you. It may also be worthwhile to discuss your situation with a genetic counselor and get some family planning advice so that you can do all that is required to prevent your family from getting the genetic disorder. You can also use several web based tools to track your family's medical history and the chance of developing schizophrenia in further generations. You can also get all the information you want from your local clinic as well as your genetic counselor. In addition to schizophrenia, preparing a family tree and getting genetic counseling can also increase your awareness about many of the other genetically transmitted diseases.


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