Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The Conversation logo

People with schizophrenia can experience psychosis, a condition in which they perceive the world very differently to those around them. They may see or hear things that others cannot or hold beliefs that others find bizarre. These experiences can be distressing for those experiencing them, as well as for their families and friends. Current treatments are inadequate: they do not work for all and can lead to unpleasant side effects. But attempts to improve this are hampered by our limited understanding of schizophrenia’s biological basis.

There is no single factor that causes schizophrenia, but we know that genes are important. But neither is there a “schizophrenia gene”. Instead, many hundreds of genes act in concert to subtly increase or decrease how likely we are to become ill, given the environment in which we find ourselves.

In the last ten years, geneticists have begun to uncover the specifics of these complex relationships by identifying precisely which genes are linked with schizophrenia and other mental health conditions. For neurobiologists like me, the discovery of these genes is exciting. This information provides new clues as to which molecules and cell signalling pathways might be altered in these conditions.

Read the full article on The Conversation website, written by Dr Elizabeth Tunbridge, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry.

Oxford is a subscribing member of The ConversationFind out how you can write for The Conversation.

Similar stories

Oxford spinout Optellum secures $14m funding to advance pioneering AI-powered lung cancer diagnosis technology

Optellum, a University of Oxford spinout that provides a breakthrough AI platform to diagnose and treat early-stage lung cancer, has raised $14 million in a Series A funding round.

New study shows higher rate of fractures in people with intellectual disability

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers at the University of Oxford and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust found a substantially higher rate of fractures in people with intellectual disability compared with people of the same age and gender without an intellectual disability.

New evidence for how our brains handle surprise

A new study from the Bruno Group is challenging our perceptions of how the different regions of the cerebral cortex function. A group of ‘quiet’ cells in the somatosensory cortex that rarely respond to touch have been found to react mainly to surprising circumstances. The results suggest their function is not necessarily driven by touch, but may indicate an important and previously unidentified role across all the major cortices.

Language learning difficulties in children linked to brain differences

A new study using MRI has revealed structural brain changes in children with developmental language disorder (DLD), a common but under-recognised difficulty in language learning. Children with DLD aged 10-15 showed reduced levels of myelin in areas of the brain associated with speaking and listening to others, and areas involved in learning new skills. This finding is a significant advance in our understanding of DLD and these brain differences may explain the poorer language outcomes in this group.

The Gene Therapists Headline at Glastonbury 2022

Rosie Munday writes about her experience taking science to the masses at the Glastonbury Festival.