Scientists make stunning schizophrenia breakthrough

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A new discovery could change how we treat schizophrenia in the future.

Scientists may have just made a big discovery on schizophrenia that could lead to a cure, or at the very least targeted new treatments.

Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), scientists were able to show that brains can repair themselves, even in cases were schizophrenia was deemed irreversible due to brain damage, according to a Lawson Health Research Institute statement.

Scientists based this on observing 181 people, 98 of them with schizophrenia and 83 without. They used MRI to compare brain tissue.

Currently, doctors try to reduce the loss of brain tissue rather than reduce it, but the study indicated that the brain is always trying to recover brain tissue, even in cases of severe tissue damage. The discovery could result in more targeted treatments that deal with the root cause of schizophrenia, rather than simply halting its advance.

Researchers published the study, titled “Dynamic cerebral reorganization in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia: a MRI-derived cortical thickness study,” in the publication Psychology Medicine

“These findings are important not only because of their novelty and the rigour of the study, but because they point the way to the development of targeted treatments that potentially could better address some of the core pathology in schizophrenia,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reiss, Site Chief, Psychiatry, LHSC, in the statement. “Brain plasticity and the development of related therapies would contribute to a new optimism in an illness that was 100 years ago described as premature dementia for its seemingly progressive deterioration.”

“Dr. Palaniyappan and his colleagues have opened new avenues of research into our understanding of schizophrenia,” added Dr. Paul Links, Chair/Chief, Psychiatry, LHSC. “Their findings may lead us to be able to harness the brain’s own compensatory changes in the face of this illness and improve recovery. We are excited that Dr. Palaniyappan will be continuing this important clinical research here in London with his international colleagues.”

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