Focus: GS-III Science and Technology
Why in news?
- Recently, a pilot study on a south Indian group of people with schizophrenia was carried out by Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) and Jeevan Stem Cell Foundation.
- The paper shows an association between Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) variations and schizophrenia.
- Earlier studies indicate that different variants of specific genes (these variants are called alleles) may be involved in different ethnic groups.
- The paper adds a valuable piece of information, on the relation between immune response genes and schizophrenia.
- The researchers also studied the type of amino acid present in the peptide binding groove of HLA molecule and compared it among patients and controls, finding a significant difference.
What was found?
- HLA is important for proper functioning of immune system and its variations can lead to immunological abnormalities.
- When the immune system acts up, as in autoimmune disorders, generating anti-NMDA receptor antibodies, for example, it can lead to schizophrenia
- Schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by continuous or relapsing episodes of psychosis.
- Major symptoms include hallucinations (often hearing voices), delusions (having beliefs not shared by others), and disorganized thinking.
- Other symptoms include social withdrawal, decreased emotional expression, and lack of motivation.
- There is no objective diagnostic test; diagnosis is based on observed behavior, a history that includes the person’s reported experiences, and reports of others familiar with the person.
- The mainstay of treatment is an antipsychotic medication, along with counselling, job training, and social rehabilitation.
-Source: The Hindu