Schizophrenia Linked to Possible Faulty "Switch"

by Laura Heffner

Researches at the University at Nottingham in the UK believe they have discovered the possible cause of schizophrenia in humans.  After a four year study through the University's Division of Psychiatry believe that a disconnect between the loop that connects the insular and frontal cortex sections of the brain is the cause of schizophrenia.

The switching between these two sections allows us to switch between our inner private world such as remembering the past to the outer objective world such as  a loud noise or someone is talking to us.  For someone whom this is not possible, they end up lost in their inner world which can manifest in voices and hallucinations.  

Schizophrenia can affect as many as 1 in 100 people with very little know about the infliction.  Only 1 in 5 people have a chance in being cured.  A functional MRI was utilized in the study that compared a control group with schizophrenia that pinpointed this disconnect.  This discovery should aid in the diagnosis of persons with schizophrenia and also allow for new treatment options.  

Though scientists are still not sure what causes the disconnect in the brain but they believe it may be due to genetic predisposition or drug use.  Those who use cannibas or stimulant drugs are three to four more times likely to suffer from schizophrenia.  Underdevelopment of the brain during pregnancy and childhood malnutrition is also thought to possibly cause this mental illness.  

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is being researched as treatment for this disconnect.  Scientists believe that using magnetic pulses on certain parts of the brain affected may reset the switch.  Mindfulness is also being looked at to restructure the brain as well.  

Exciting discoveries for this affliction.  My father suffered from schizophrenia at the end of his life which may have been there for all of his life but compounded by his alcoholism or maybe the alcoholism brought on the condition.  Understanding why people become schizophrenic can help those who love them as well as provide more effective treatment and diagnosis.  

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