About one in 100 people will suffer from schizophrenia at some time in their lives. This disorder is characterized by changes in thoughts, perception and behaviour, and it usually strikes people in their 20s or early 30s. Schizophrenics have trouble understanding reality and are prone to hallucinations and delusions. Some also have memory and thinking problems. One in five sufferers makes a full recovery but an equal number need expensive, long-term treatment. The rest recover in part but may suffer relapses. So far, it hasn’t been found what the risks for developing schizophrenia are.

Heredity seems to play a major role in schizophrenia, since the disease runs in families.
A new research sheds light on how a genetic mutation disrupts the brain and makes people develop the condition. This genetic mutation is known as a deletion on one chromosome. However, not all children with the mutation develop schizophrenia. Only one third of children with the deletion to part of chromosome 22 will develop schizophrenia. It is still not known why some develop the disorder and others don’t.

For the time being, schizophrenics are treated with anti-psychotic drugs that are not always effective. These findings could result in earlier diagnosis in children and young people, and lead to the development of new drugs and better treatment.