Dr James Woolley, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Priory Hospital, Roehampton, comments on the recent international study led by Cardiff University which found more than 100 genes that make people more susceptible to schizophrenia:
This is a very exciting study which provides firmer evidence about an underlying genetic predisposition to psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Many patients, families, carers and healthcare professionals have experienced how prominent genetic factors can be, so to have this demonstrated in such a large international collaboration is a significant step forward. It will also help to reduce the gap in perception between physical and mental health conditions, starting to put disorders such as schizophrenia on more of an equal footing with conditions such as heart disease or cancer.
Long term developments
Whilst it is not likely that this will lead to advances in treatment in the short term, a better understanding of the underlying factors which predispose somebody to developing a psychotic illness will clearly be essential in developing more targeted treatments in the future, alongside the addressing social, psychological and environmental factors which will undoubtedly remain as other important areas to address therapeutically.
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