83 new genes which could help identify schizophrenia earlier and more effectively have been found in a global study in which researchers from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) have participated, local media reported on Tuesday.
Researchers looked at over 80,000 genetic samples from individuals with and without schizophrenia, and found 108 specific marker locations in the genome - of which 83 were previously thought to be irrelavant to the disorder, according to Channel NewsAsia.
Schizophrenia affects approximately 1 out of every 100 people worldwide, but little progress has been made over the last 60 years.
Current medications only treat the symptoms of schizophrenia, but do not address the causes. Treatment options are limited because the biological causes of schizophrenia have not been understood, explained IMH and GIS, adding that the latest findings could lead to new approaches to the treatment of the disease.
"These new findings open doors to allow researchers to examine and better clarify the underlying brain connectivity changes associated with these genes and genetic mechanisms," explained Adjunct Associate Professor Sim Kang, one of the researchers from IMH's Research Division.
Professor Liu Jianjun, Deputy Director of Research Programmes at GIC, said the new finding was a "great demonstration that large- scale genetic association study is a powerful tool for understanding disease genetic susceptibility and revealing novel biological insight into disease mechanism."