Exciting research finding about “synaptic pruning” and schizophrenia

The New York Times published “Scientists Move Closer to Understanding Schizophrenia’s Cause” on 1-27-16.  This is a thorough article about fascinating research about a natural process called synaptic pruning, in which the brain, usually during adolescence and early adulthood, sheds weak or redundant synaptic connections.  The research reported in this article found genetic evidence that supports this theory as a significant factor, but not the sole factor, in developing schizophrenia. The hope is that further research will identify more specific markers for young people at risk, and, of course, more effective early interventions. It will be challenging, they note, to develop a drug that affects the pruning process, as it is a delicate, exquisitely timed process.”

This article may offer some hope for people who suffer from schizophrenia, or who are at risk, and the mental health professionals who treatment them- but actual treatment is dependent upon “further research.”

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