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Genetic variant increases risk of schizophrenia

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 09 June 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1384
  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. San Francisco

    Researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health have found that a common genetic variant in an enzyme involved in dopamine metabolism is linked to poor memory function and increased susceptibility to schizophrenia (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 2001;98:6917-22.)

    The study is among the first to show that a normal genetic variant can increase the risk of mental illness. It also opens up another possible treatment option for schizophrenia.

    The researchers wanted to study whether variations in catechol-o-methyltransferase, a gene coding for the degradation of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex, was related to risk of schizophrenia.

    People with schizophrenia have increased dopamine receptor levels in their brains …

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