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Aetiology: Searching for schizophrenia's roots

Sixty years after the first schizophrenia drug hit the market, researchers are still struggling to understand and treat the disorder. By Emily Elert.

A biochemical cascade

Dysregulation of glutamate may help explain why people with schizophrenia have too much dopamine in some parts of the brain and too little in others, giving rise to a broad spectrum of symptoms.

Credit: Source: LSE Effective Interventions in Schizophrenia: The Economic Case

Societal costs

In 2012, researchers at the London School of Economics estimated that schizophrenia costs England more than £11.8 billion (US$19.7 billion) each year — nearly £76,00 for each person afflicted

Credit: Source: LSE Effective Interventions in Schizophrenia: The Economic Case

The changing face of schizophrenia

Credit: Source: W. W. Eaton et al. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 52, 127–134 (1995)

15 years of drug development

The most widely used schizophrenia drugs, atypical antiphsychotics, are effective in treating positive symptoms. But researchers are finding new neural targets to address negative and cognitive symptoms.

Credit: Source: Hugo Geerts, In Silico Biosciences

Schizophrenia slowdown

For the past ten years, clinial trials of schizophrenia treatments have been on a downward trajectory, even though clinial trials in general have been rising.

Credit: Source: Clinicaltrials.gov
Credit: Source: Clinicaltrials.gov
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Elert, E. Aetiology: Searching for schizophrenia's roots. Nature 508, S2–S3 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/508S2a

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