New research highlights genetic causes of schizophrenia

The new study, published today (22 July) in the journal Nature by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, shows that there are over 100 genes more commonly present in people with schizophrenia than the average population. It also offers new insight into some of the genetic risk factors that could cause people to develop the illness.

Rethink Mental illness CEO Mark Winstanley said:

“This research represents a real leap forward in our understanding of schizophrenia, and its potential genetic causes. It also gives us a clearer insight into how issues such as problems with the immune system can potentially be a risk factor in developing schizophrenia. That’s hugely important, as it should enable us to develop better treatments and support for people affected by the illness.

“But for that to happen, the Government must act on these findings by investing in more research into schizophrenia and other conditions. Mental illness accounts for 23 percent of the disease burden in this country, but only around 5 percent of the total health research budget is spent on mental health.

“It’s a huge source of frustration for our members that treatments for mental illness, especially antipsychotic medication, lag so far behind those available for physical conditions like cancer or heart disease.

“The Government has promised to value mental and physical heath equally, but the lack of funding for mental health research shows that this is far from a reality as things stand. Until that basic inequality is addressed, people with mental illness will continue to get a raw deal.”


For further comment from Rethink Mental Illness or to set up an interview, contact 0207 840 3043

Notes to editors

Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness.

For over 40 years we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness.

We directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone.

We give information and advice to 500,000 more and we change policy for millions.

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