Ground-breaking research at Washington University points to a major change in understanding  and eventually treating or preventing the disorder.

People with schizophrenia don’t have multiple personalities.  They do have hallucinations or delusions or disorganized thinking.  Washington University researchers looking at gene clusters say the issue is not “does someone have schizophrenia?” but “what kind of schizophrenia does a person have?”

One of the researchers, Doctor Dragan Svrakic (Su-RAH-kiss), says previous research has looked at individual genes.  He and his partners have located specific clusters of genes that contribute to eight classes of schizophrenia.   He says the study has identified different genetic pathways to the disorder.  “We will be able to find what are the pathways that lead eventually to the illness and maybe act to act therapeutically or prophylactically when the rain has not developed yet and when the round wiring the brain has not happened yet to … increase the chances of the illness not even to develop,”  he says.

It might lead to development of medicines that can treat the specific disorders. He says the research could also open the doors to treatment of all other forms of mental illness, including bipolar disorder and autism, or could lead to greater understanding of the development of intelligence.  He says all require  interactions within clusters of genes.

The study has been published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

AUDIO: Svrakic interview 16:10