For the time being precise cause of schizophrenia is unknown, however the origins are thought to be environmental and genetic. Researchers from The Newcastle University say they may have a clue why abnormal electrical waves occur in the brains of the schizophrenics.

The team believes schizophrenics lack the vital brain receptor cells which control them. In their study, they switched off the receptors in rats by using a ketamine drug, which changed the frequency of the brain waves.

They are hoping that this finding could help them research new treatments for both schizophrenia and other mental disorders.

While looking closely at the differences between the brain function of people with and without schizophrenia, earlier researchers found "gamma frequency oscillation", a pattern of electrical activity to be different in schizophrenia patients.

The Newcastle researchers decided to figure out the cause of this alteration.

They used a drug called ketamine - which, as a recreational drug in humans, has been known to cause some of the symptoms of schizophrenia, including hallucinations. When they applied it to the rat brain cells, they spotted that the drug changed the frequency of its electrical activity by blocking the NMDA brain receptor.

They now believe that people with schizophrenia may not have enough of these receptors or that they may not be working properly.

It is essential that the researchers managed to modify the dynamics of the brain by selectively targeting receptors. They are hoping now that the finding could lead to a method for actually improving brain function, not only for people with schizophrenia, but potentially for many other brain conditions.

This is some of the first evidence of what might actually be going on to produce changes in electrical activity in the brain in people with schizophrenia.