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Case study: schizophrenia

Case study: schizophrenia
Schizophrenia word cloud in the shape of a brain
© University of Birmingham

The two previous case studies have focussed on two conditions where a single cause has been identified, namely glial pathology and a mutant gene. However, for many brain disorders research implies that there are multiple factors which play some part and that for a person to have the disorder requires that they inherit, acquire or experience at least some of these factors. Many psychiatric conditions fall into this category, and that includes schizophrenia.

Your task:

  • What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
  • What does this tell us about the regions of the brain that are affected?

If we were to survey all of the research that has been conducted trying to identify the causes of schizophrenia we would see that an extraordinary number of factors have been implicated.

Your task:

  • Consider the range of factors we looked at that can result in differential brain function. Which of these have been linked to schizophrenia?

As you might imagine with such a complex disorder, it has proven difficult to find effective therapies. However, for some individuals, a group of drugs known as antipsychotics can provide benefits.

Your task:

  • Look up antipsychotic drugs and, relating back to last week; identify how these drugs are thought to alter brain function
© University of Birmingham
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