Shalom Life | May 31, 2014

Study: Ashkenazi Jews Genetically Predisposed to Schizophrenia

Scientists claim they've discovered the gene that puts Ashkenazis at risk for mental illness

By: Zak Edwards

Published: November 26th, 2013 in Health » World

Study: Ashkenazi Jews Genetically Predisposed to Schizophrenia

A study published in New Communications has found the gene that predisposes Ashkenazi Jews to various mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder, according to an article in Haaretz.

The study, which saw over 25 000 Ashkenazi Jews submit DNA samples for testing, has located a variation on the DNST3 gene that raises the likelihood of suffering from these illnesses to 40%, compared to the general average of 15%.

The study was conducted as a joint effort between the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Dr. Todd Lencz from The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York, reports the Algemeiner.

Dr. Todd Lencz from the Feinstein Institute and the associate dean of Life Sciences at Hebrew University, Ariel Darvasi, performed the experiment and wrote the paper together.

Schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder are all debilitating illnesses that can result in severe symptoms for those suffering, including paranoia, uncontrolled mood changes, and even hallucinations. While each has a pharmaceutical regime that can help alleviate symptoms, patients also benefit from long-term psychological support and community support programs.

Hopefully research like this can help locate and discover new ways to help those suffering from these mental illnesses.

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