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Schizophrenia hope
According to a study published recently in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, a new discovery is providing clues to a possible cause of schizophrenia.

22.01.2014 - For many decades, vital physiological links for the common mental disorder have eluded scientists.  However, they recently uncovered a molecular process that may contribute to the development of the disorder.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), schizophrenia affects approximately 24 million people worldwide.  At present, there is no single test for the condition, which is usually diagnosed via assessments by mental health specialists.  It is normally treated with a combination of therapy and medication, such as antipsychotics, but the latter are at times ineffective and there is a constant search for improved medication and better diagnostic tests.

The study found that a process called autophagy is reduced in the brains of schizophrenics.  Authophagy is an effective cell-maintenance system that clears dysfunctional and unnecessary cellular components, but when this process is diminished, it can cause cell death.

Schizophrenic patients were also found to have reduced levels of the beclin-1 protein in the hippocampus of their brains, a substance that plays  

a vital role in autophagy.  Thus it is thought that designing medications that increase beclin-1 levels could be a potential way forward in the treatment of schizophrenia.

Regardless of any future breakthroughs, there are already many thousands of people living with a mental health condition in the Canary Islands.  For residents of Tenerife there is help in the form the En Pie organisation.  Based in Las Caletillas, the association is aimed at those suffering with a chronic mental health condition such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or clinical depression.   If you, or someone you know, has a mental illness and would appreciate help, or you would like to support the organisation in any way, see their website at:  Alternatively call Lisa Allard on 636271853.


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