Brains of schizophrenia patients have the capacity to self-repair and to fight off disease.
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that immensely affects a person’s thinking, feelings and behavior. That is why people with schizophrenia find it hard to distinguish between reality and imagination.
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The disease has long been considered untreatable but a new research suggests that the effects of schizophrenia can be reversed. Using MRI scanning, Lawson Health Research Institute researchers have showed that human brain has natural ability to self-repair and to fight off this chronic mental disease.
For the study, researchers followed 98 schizophrenia patients and compared their medical data with those 83 who were not suffering schizophrenia. The main difference between a schizophrenia patient and a normal person is the amount of brain tissue. Schizophrenia patients have a reduced volume of brain tissues, especially in temporal and frontal lobes and worst tissue loss means worst schizophrenia condition.
Researchers used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and a sophisticated approach called covariance analysis to record the increase in brain tissue between the two groups. They found that brains of schizophrenia patients are capable to reorganize themselves and more importantly a stable increase in tissues is possible in certain regions of brain.
“Our results highlight that despite the severity of tissue damage, the brain of a patient with schizophrenia is constantly attempting to reorganize itself, possibly to rescue itself or limit the damage.” Dr. Lena Palaniyappan from Lawson Health Research Institute said.
Schizophrenia is not as common as other mental diseases. 1.1% of adults in United States live with schizophrenia but the symptoms can be very disturbing and may include hallucinations, delusions, psychotic thoughts, depression and voices that other people don’t hear.
Modern-day treatments are unable to cure the disease. Even the most advanced technologies are merely focused on damage control rather than reversing the cognitive and functional deficits caused by the disease. But the latest research shows promising results for schizophrenia patients.
“These findings are important not only because of their novelty and the rigour of the study, but because they point to the way to the development of targeted treatments that potentially could better address some of the core pathology in schizophrenia,” explained Dr. Jeffrey Reiss. "Brain plasticity and the development of related therapies would contribute to a new optimism in an illness that was 100 years ago described as premature dementia for its seemingly progressive deterioration."