A study conducted by the researchers at the UCLA was recently published in the journal Science. The study discovered that autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have something in common, as they share the same molecular traits.
This study is considered “a large step forward”
Scientists discovered that autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have common patterns of genes expressions in the brain, which are the processes that dictate the DNA instructions conversion in products such as proteins.
Observation of the differences in the molecular levels at the brain levels is “a large step forward”, as the study senior author, Daniel Geschwind, admitted. Even though now, the scientists know that these molecular changes may be the causes for autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the researchers admitted that they do not know the mechanism of how can gene factors lead to such changes.
What exactly did the study found?
The scientists took more than 700 brain tissue sample from people who have suffered from autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in order to analyze the RNA. They also used brain tissue sample from healthy people as comparative material.
After meticulously analyzing the samples, the researchers have discovered similar molecular pathologies in those tissues affected by autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. On the other hand, they also discovered changes specific to each disease in part.
However, only the similarities have drawn the scientists attention as they think that when the mechanism for these changes will be understood there will be the possibility to treat such diseases with more viable methods.
The study involved a large team of scientists.
This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Stephen R. Mallory schizophrenia research award at UCLA and the Simons Foundation For Autism Research Initiative.
Besides Daniel Geschwind, study’s senior author, and Michael Gandal, the study’s leader, the research involved a team of scientists from the USA and Denmark, plus the help of two institutes, iPSYCH-BROAD Working Group and PsychENCODE.