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The Biological Basis of Schizophrenia: New Directions

Daniel R. Weinberger, M.D.

Published: May 1, 1997

Article Abstract

The desire to understand the pathophysiology of schizophrenia has inspired an explosion in researchover the past decade. This review highlights some key studies that have led to fundamentalchanges in our understanding of this disorder, focusing on the search for genes in schizophrenia, aswell as several recent alternatives to the original dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia. Advances ingenetic methodology have allowed schizophrenia researchers to conduct genome-wide searches forsusceptibility genes. Although these studies have identified several regions that demonstrate potentiallinkage with schizophrenia, a definitive genetic cause has not yet been proved. Recent neurochemicalhypotheses have focused on the cortical amino acid neurotransmitter systems (i.e., glutamate andGABA), while anatomical studies suggesting abnormal brain development and premorbid functionaldeficits have led some researchers to propose a neurodevelopmental origin for schizophrenia. A sizabledatabase can be marshaled in support of each of these ideas, but none as yet fully explain thebiological basis of schizophrenia.

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Volume: 58

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