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Researchers show genetic overlap in schizophrenia, cognitive ability

Date:
December 17, 2013
Source:
North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System
Summary:
Investigators have discovered, for the first time, a direct evidence of a genetic overlap between schizophrenia and general cognitive ability.

Investigators at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have discovered for the first time, direct evidence of a genetic overlap between schizophrenia and general cognitive ability. The findings are published online in Molecular Psychiatry.

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Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder that affects approximately 2.2 million Americans each year. It is characterized by a significant reduction in general cognitive abilities, so that many patients struggle with completing school, holding jobs and achieving their full potential. Previous studies have indicated subtle cognitive abnormalities in undiagnosed and unmedicated relatives of patients who live with schizophrenia, which suggests the possibility of genetic overlap between risk for schizophrenia and cognitive traits. These previous studies, however, did not test this overlap on the molecular level.

Anil Malhotra, MD, director of psychiatry research at Zucker Hillside Hospital and an investigator at the Feinstein Institute, and his colleague Todd Lencz, PhD, associate investigator at the Zucker Hillside Hospital and the Feinstein Institute, conducted the first molecular genetic test to determine if genetic markers of reduced cognitive ability were also genetic markers of increased schizophrenia risk. Specifically, they conducted a large-scale, meta-analysis, genome-wide association study (GWAS) of samples from 5,000 subjects provided by the Cognitive Genomics consorTium (COGENT). COGENT, which was founded and is led by Dr. Malhotra, is an international consortium of nine teams of researchers across seven countries.

Through their analysis, they confirmed that patients who suffered from schizophrenia also had lessened cognitive ability. This is the first direct evidence for genetic overlap between schizophrenia risk genes and genes that regulate general cognitive ability, such as memory, attention, and language abilities. The results provide molecular confirmation of this genetic overlap and additional insight into how schizophrenia develops and progresses.

"This research leads us to a deeper understanding of how schizophrenia affects the brain at the molecular level," said Dr. Lencz. "Our studies are designed to provide clues to the development of new treatments to improve the lives of our patients."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T Lencz, E Knowles, G Davies, S Guha, D C Liewald, J M Starr, S Djurovic, I Melle, K Sundet, A Christoforou, I Reinvang, S Mukherjee, Pamela DeRosse, A Lundervold, V M Steen, M John, T Espeseth, K Rδikkφnen, E Widen, A Palotie, J G Eriksson, I Giegling, B Konte, M Ikeda, P Roussos, S Giakoumaki, K E Burdick, A Payton, W Ollier, M Horan, G Donohoe, D Morris, A Corvin, M Gill, N Pendleton, N Iwata, A Darvasi, P Bitsios, D Rujescu, J Lahti, S L Hellard, M C Keller, O A Andreassen, I J Deary, D C Glahn, A K Malhotra. Molecular genetic evidence for overlap between general cognitive ability and risk for schizophrenia: a report from the Cognitive Genomics consorTium (COGENT). Molecular Psychiatry, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2013.166

Cite This Page:

North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System. "Researchers show genetic overlap in schizophrenia, cognitive ability." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217085323.htm>.
North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System. (2013, December 17). Researchers show genetic overlap in schizophrenia, cognitive ability. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217085323.htm
North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System. "Researchers show genetic overlap in schizophrenia, cognitive ability." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217085323.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

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