Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Schizophrenia: Costly By-product Of Human Brain Evolution?

Date:
August 5, 2008
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Metabolic changes responsible for the evolution of our unique cognitive abilities indicate that the brain may have been pushed to the limit of its capabilities. Research published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Genome Biology adds weight to the theory that schizophrenia is a costly by-product of human brain evolution.

Scientists have identified the molecular changes that took place over the course of human evolution and considered those molecular changes observed in schizophrenia.
Credit: iStockphoto/Vasiliy Yakobchuk

Metabolic changes responsible for the evolution of our unique cognitive abilities indicate that the brain may have been pushed to the limit of its capabilities. Research published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Genome Biology adds weight to the theory that schizophrenia is a costly by-product of human brain evolution.

Related Articles


Philipp Khaitovich, from the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Shanghai branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, led a collaboration of researchers from Cambridge, Leipzig and Shanghai who investigated brains from healthy and schizophrenic humans and compared them with chimpanzee and rhesus macaque brains. The researchers looked for differences in gene expression and metabolite concentrations and, as Khaitovich explains, "identified molecular mechanisms involved in the evolution of human cognitive abilities by combining biological data from two research directions: evolutionary and medical".

The idea that certain neurological diseases are by-products of increases in metabolic capacity and brain size that occurred during human evolution has been suggested before, but in this new work the authors used new technical approaches to really put the theory to the test.

They identified the molecular changes that took place over the course of human evolution and considered those molecular changes observed in schizophrenia, a psychiatric disorder believed to affect cognitive functions such as the capacities for language and complex social relationships. They found that expression levels of many genes and metabolites that are altered in schizophrenia, especially those related to energy metabolism, also changed rapidly during evolution. According to Khaitovich, "Our new research suggests that schizophrenia is a by-product of the increased metabolic demands brought about during human brain evolution".

The authors conclude that this work paves the way for a much more detailed investigation. "Our brains are unique among all species in their enormous metabolic demand. If we can explain how our brains sustain such a tremendous metabolic flow, we will have a much better chance to understand how the brain works and why it sometimes breaks", said Khaitovich.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Khaitovich et al. Metabolic changes in schizophrenia and human brain evolution. Genome Biology, 2008 (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Schizophrenia: Costly By-product Of Human Brain Evolution?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080804222910.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2008, August 5). Schizophrenia: Costly By-product Of Human Brain Evolution?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080804222910.htm
BioMed Central. "Schizophrenia: Costly By-product Of Human Brain Evolution?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080804222910.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) Stanford University wants to unlock the secrets of the player piano. Researchers are restoring and studying self-playing pianos and the music rolls that recorded major composers performing their own work. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Newsy (Dec. 16, 2014) A group of scientists looked at the genetics behind the domestication of the horse and showed how human manipulation changed horses' DNA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) A collection of rare manuscripts by composers Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet are due to go on sale at auction on December 17. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 15, 2014) Researchers are looking to the past to gain a clearer picture of what the future holds for ice in the Arctic. A project to analyse and digitize ship logs dating back to the 1850's aims to lengthen the timeline of recorded ice data. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins