UCLA researchers find brain differences between people with genetic risk for schizophrenia, autism

May 24, 2017
People missing genetic material along the 22nd chromosome are at higher risk for schizophrenia, while those with excess genetic material there were more at risk for autism.

UCLA researchers recently discovered how certain neuropsychiatric disorders, like schizophrenia and autism, are related to brain irregularities and genetic abnormalities. Carrie Bearden, lead author of the study and professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences and of psychology at UCLA, explains that duplications found in sections of chromosome 22 can sometimes lead to autism, whereas missing genetic material on chromosome 22 increases genetic risk for schizophrenia. For individuals with duplication in chromosome 22 – AKA 22q duplication – the duplication of genetic material prevents and protects against schizophrenia. The MRI scans show that individuals with 22q deletion have thicker gray matter, but less brain surface area. The 22q duplication group has the opposite pattern. Ultimately, this research broadens understandings of these neuropsychiatric disorders and how they may be interconnected.

Read more at UCLA Newsroom