3 recent discoveries made in schizophrenia

1) Testing human hair could help detect schizophrenia

A new study suggests that it would be possible to detect schizophrenia using tests in human hair that can detect the levels of specific enzymes. Studies show that people who have a severe mental health disorder have a much higher level of MPST as compared to people who don’t. MPST is an enzyme that is responsible for producing hydrogen sulfide in the brain.

A study published in EMBO Molecular Medicine conducted by researchers at the RIKEN Center for Brain Science showed that mice that exhibited signs of schizophrenia had a higher level of MPST as compared to those who didn’t show symptoms of schizophrenia. A team of doctors studied hair follicles of 300 people, out of which half of them had schizophrenia. The levels of MPST was found much higher in people who have a severe mental health disorder in comparison to those who don’t.

The researchers found that the levels of MPST had a direct correlation with the condition of the symptoms of schizophrenia. The study suggested that higher levels of MPST can cause the patients to experience more hallucinations.

Hydrogen sulfide can help in reducing oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in the body. Previous studies have also shown a correlation between inflammation that occurred before and just after birth and schizophrenia. Also, if someone has high levels of hydrogen sulfide circulating through their body, they are at a higher risk of developing ulcerative colitis and a lower risk for rheumatoid arthritis. People who have schizophrenia are more likely to have ulcerative colitis and less likely to have rheumatoid arthritis.

2) People who smoke tobacco may be at a higher risk of developing schizophrenia

A study conducted by a team of researchers led by scientists from the University of Bristol in the UK has found evidence that shows smoking can have a negative impact on mental health. The researchers have not just studied whether smokers are more vulnerable to developing depression and schizophrenia. They used the genetic data of people to understand the cause-and-effect of mental health with smoking.

A data form 462,690 individuals belonging to European ancestry was studied using an approach called Mendelian randomization. It involves studying genetic variations that are associated with a trait, such as schizophrenia and depression. These traits are then tested for any mutations when exposed to a particular activity, such as smoking. This method allows researchers to examine whether this relationship between a trait and exposure is causal.

The study published in the journal Psychological Medicine concluded that not only smoking increases the risk of developing schizophrenia and depression, but also that people with schizophrenia and depression are more likely to smoke. However, the correlation between smoking and schizophrenia was found weaker as compared to the relationship between smoking and depression. The same study also showed that smoking also increases the risk of developing bipolar disorder. The researchers have recommended that mental health facilities are made smoke-free to avoid further worsening mental health. According to a Lancet Psychiatry Commission report published in July 2018, people all around the world who have a mental health condition are more likely to die 20 years earlier than people who don’t.

A study published in January 2018 concluded that the consumption of either marijuana or cigarettes is associated with a higher risk of psychotic conditions in teenagers. Psychosis includes severe mental health condition where people lose touch with reality, such as experiencing hallucinations or delusions.

3) Childhood exposure to nitrogen dioxide increases the risk of schizophrenia

According to a study published in JAMA Network Open, a significant correlation was found between childhood exposure to nitrogen dioxide and the risk of developing schizophrenia.

The researchers studied data from the Danish Civil Registration System ‘to conduct a population-based cohort study that included individuals with schizophrenia and a randomly selected subcohort.’ The study included studying the data of more than 23,000 individuals, out of which 3,531 were diagnosed with schizophrenia while the survey was conducted. Results showed that people who have schizophrenia had greater exposure to NO2 during childhood ‘and a higher polygenic risk score for schizophrenia.’ The conclusions made by the researchers that childhood exposure to NO2 increases the risk of schizophrenia is consistent with the result of earlier studies.


5.1 percent of men and 5.6 percent of women face a significant risk of early death. The suicide rate is 10 to 13 percent higher in schizophrenia patients than the general population.

CMBH is regularly researching to find out prompt and effective methods to treat Schizophrenia. We are also in the process of testing new approaches to detect, prevent, and treat Schizophrenia. People who have Schizophrenia can participate in paid clinical trials conducted by CMB. As a participant, they will be contributing to finding new and better medications to help prospect patients and the overall advancement of modern medicines.

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