Schizophrenia Could Stem From Viral Infection

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The results of a recent study in Denmark suggest that viruses can interact with genes in a way that increases an individual’s risk for schizophrenia. News Medical reports the researchers looked specifically at the cytomegalovirus, which is part of the herpes family and has affected between 50 and 80 percent of the U.S. Their findings were that women who have been infected by the virus had a significantly higher risk of having children with schizophrenia when those children possessed a certain gene variant, which can be found in about 15-percent of all children.

Though the discovery sounds alarming, researchers stress that it only covers one side of the story. Though there is an increased risk when these two factors collide, there may also be a number of unknown factors that would prevent schizophrenia from ever developing. These findings simply suggest a need for a vaccine for cytomegalovirus and present the possibility that viruses can alter the human body in a way that leads to mental disorders.

 

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