Major breakthrough achieved by researchers in treatment of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia represents a mental disorder which influences the way a person acts, thinks and feels, and the disease has so far evaded a cure. However, researchers have now achieved a breakthrough with the help of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

According to the research report published in Psychology Medicine Journal on 26 May, Lena Palaniyappan from the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) employed MRI in combination with a covariance analysis for recording the increase experienced by brain tissue in about 100 patients suffering from schizophrenia and compared results obtained with 83 other patients who had no history of the disease.

The researchers were thrilled to find evidence suggesting that the brain in patients affected by the disease were capable of repairing themselves to fight the illness. Patients affected by the disease are often unable to distinguish between what is wrong and what is right and it is thus reckoned as a degenerative illness. Treatments currently available focus more on managing and reducing the symptoms, rather than reversing the progression of the disease.

Typically, the volume of brain tissue in the affected patients tends to suffer a widespread reduction. In the present study, the researchers found that some parts of the brain in the affected patients evidenced a subtle increase in the volume of tissues over a period. The researchers, therefore, opine that the study contributes to the thinking that patients with this condition tend to become “normal” when they are affected by the condition over a longer period.

Lena Palaniyappan added further that brain of the affected patients constantly attempts reorganizing itself disregarding damages to the tissues, and that possibly is a hint that it is trying to limit the damage or perhaps even attempt a rescue from the disease. The present findings gain importance since it shows that the brain tissue is capable of repairing itself. In turn, this could become helpful in targeted treatments for reversing the effect of the disease.

Psychiatry Chief at LHSC, Paul Links also stated that the present findings could lead to harnessing the compensatory changes in the brain with regard to this illness and help improve recovery. An earlier study published in the same journal during May suggested that smoking by women during pregnancy added a potential risk of their baby developing the disease.