WCPG 2015 meeting reports

hockey hall of fame

Statue outside of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto

In October I travelled to Toronto, Canada, to file these meeting reports from the 26th Annual World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics for Schizophrenia Research Forum.

Toronto welcomes psychiatric genetics researchers 10/20/2015
A moment for mitochondria 10/20/2015
Common and rare variants, combined 10/26/2015
Awards, epigenetics, and exomes 10/26/2015
Scores turn out for polygenic risk scores 11/3/2015
Schizophrenia highlights on final day 11/3/2015

Schizophrenia research collection

In the past 6 months, I’ve written lots of news stories for Schizophrenia Research Forum.

Among my favorites is a story about a study that found genetic risk variants for schizophrenia also promoted cannabis use (Genetic Risk for Schizophrenia, Cannabis Use Overlap 6/30/2014), which suggests our genes compel us to seek environments that are themselves risk factors for a disease. Another reported a newfound link between obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia (Study Links OCD and Schizophrenia 9/9/2014), and still another covered a study that suggests reading remediation may help people with schizophrenia gain more real world function (Reading Skills Decline in Schizophrenia 9/18/2014). I also wrote about a controversial study claiming that schizophrenia can be parsed neatly into eight genetically different subtypes (Study Claiming Eight Types of Schizophrenia Called Into Question 10/3/2014).

The rest of the stories are listed below.
IQ Study Finds Environmental Footprint in Schizophrenia Risk 11/26/2014
Corticostriatal Connectivity Predicts Antipsychotic Response 11/14/2014
Working Memory Deficit Hampers Reinforcement Learning in Schizophrenia 10/14/2014
GABA and Glutamate Co-release Appears to Titrate Depression 10/9/2014
Electroconvulsive Therapy Is Promising for Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia 9/5/2014
Ketamine Elicits Brain State Resembling Early Stages of Schizophrenia 8/26/2014
Whether Mild or Extreme, Psychotic Experiences Share Risk Factors 8/8/2014
Dopamine Dysfunction Triggers Massive Reprogramming of Cortex 7/21/2014
15q11.2 Deletions Point to Cytoskeleton, Altered Migration in Schizophrenia 7/14/2014
Schizophrenia Looms Large in International 22q11.2 Deletion Survey 7/3/2014
Cortical Connection Linked to Genes Suspected in Schizophrenia 6/26/2014
ANK3 Regulates Neuron Proliferation 6/13/2014

Chromatin culprits in schizophrenia

chromatinSifting through the protein-coding portion of the genome, called the exome, has revealed mutations related to chromatin in schizophrenia, according to two studies, one published in Molecular Psychiatry and the other in Neuron. The two independent studies converge on genes key for regulating chromatin, the package of DNA and proteins whose conformation regulates gene expression.

Read these stories at Schizophrenia Research Forum here and here.

Interneuron transplants calm brain

Weakened inhibition in the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center, can lead to overactivity similar to that found in schizophrenia, reports a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Restoring inhibition with transplanted interneurons  tempered the neural hyperactivity, which supports the notion that boosting inhibition in the hippocampus could restore health to the brain in schizophrenia.

Read this story at Schizophrenia Research Forum.

Brain waves linked to working memory

A transient jump in a kind of brain wave may reveal the inner workings of memory, according to a study in mice published in Cell. The findings may hold some relevance for schizophrenia, which is characterized by altered brain waves and deficits in working memory, the brain’s temporary holding tank for information that needs to be stored and manipulated to execute a task.

Read this story at Schizophrenia Research Forum.

Cancer drugs help mouse model of schizophrenia

Experimental cancer drugs called PAK inhibitors can promote connections between neurons in a genetic mouse model of psychiatric disorders, reports a study  in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers developed compounds that inhibit p21-activated kinases (PAKs), and these protected or restored dendritic spines — the knobby recipients of inputs from other neurons — in the mice, and rescued deficits similar to those seen in schizophrenia.

Read this story at Schizophrenia Research Forum.

One in three experiences mental disorders in Denmark

1in3About one-third of people in Denmark seek treatment for a mental disorder at some point during their lives, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry. The study tracked substance abuse, schizophrenia, mood disorders, eating disorders, intellectual disability, and autism, as well as dementia related to diseases such as Alzheimer’s. This revealed that different stages of life are beset by different vulnerabilities — something that may help identify root causes of mental disorders and also inform healthcare policies.

Read this story at Schizophrenia Research Forum.