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ALS Worldwide
April 24, 2017

Are ALS And Schizophrenia Related Diseases?

“Through a recently published study, researchers have found schizophrenia in relatives of ALS patients is caused by shared genetic factors that increase the risk of both conditions. This suggests scientists should view ALS as a disease of brain connections, rather than of individual brain cells, implying that the way to treat the disease could be to develop therapies that prevent brain networks from failing.

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) analyzed the genetics of nearly 13,000 patients with ALS and more than 30,000 with schizophrenia and found that the genetic correlation between ALS and schizophrenia is 14 percent. Researchers now believe they are related.

The team had previously discovered that family members of ALS patients were more likely to have schizophrenia or to have died from suicide than the general population. ‘Our recent observations of links with psychiatric conditions in some families have made us think differently about how we should study ALS/MND. When combined with our clinical work and studies, it becomes clear that ALS/MND is not just a disorder of individual nerve cells, but of the way these nerve cells talk to one another as part of a larger network.’"

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