The scientists have been trying to unravel the mystery of schizophrenia to find possible and effective methods of treatment of the illness but were left empty handed for years despite rigorous attempts.
But a new study has come as a ray of hope as it has disclosed many of the crucial facts about the health condition.
The researchers behind the study have not found just one, but eight different genetic clusters that are associated with schizophrenia.
The new study was conducted by the researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
According to the researcher group, each set of genes is marked by a diverse set of symptoms, indicating that schizophrenia is just not one syndrome as earlier believed but eight similar disorders.
Scientists term the findings as a major breakthrough in diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia.
As 80 percent of people with schizophrenia inherit it genetically, the scientists began the study aiming to find a genetic link to the disease. For the new study, the study group involved 4,200 individuals with schizophrenia and came across not just one, but eight different types of genetic combinations that are associated to the illness.
“Genes don’t operate by themselves. They function in concert much like an orchestra. In order to understand their working, we not only require to know about the orchestra members but how they interact,” C Robert Cloninger, MD, PhD, one of the study researchers, said.
The researchers came across one set of genes that were linked with delusions or hallucinations. 95 percent of people were found linked with this gene and they had schizophrenia. Another set of genes linked with disorganized speech or behavior indicated a 100 percent risk of schizophrenia.
According to the study findings, individual genes are not enough to find schizophrenia risk. The eight gene clusters identified in the study suggested a 70-100 percent chance of developing schizophrenia.
The researchers also successfully reproduced their findings in two different DNA databases of schizophrenics, suggesting that there is strong evidence that the gene clusters identified during the study are truly linked to schizophrenia.
The study’s findings were published on Monday in the journal American Journal of Psychiatry.