Complicated pregnancy can activate schizophrenia genes in placenta, says study

Complicated pregnancy can activate schizophrenia genes in placenta, says study

Complicated pregnancies like high blood pressure can ‘turn on’ the schizophrenia genes present in the placenta and indicate that the organ is under pressure, says a recent study carried out by the researchers from the Lieber Institute for Brain Development in Maryland. The study pointed to the fact that the risk of developing a mental disorder increases when the placenta is in distress.

The researchers enrolled 2,800 subjects for the study from four different countries across the United States, Europe and Asia. Out of these, 2,038 people were diagnosed schizophrenia, a mental illness that affects a person’s sense of cognition and his/her understanding of the reality. Previous studies have shown that as much as 80 percent risk of developing schizophrenia is genetic.

Study shows the role of healthy placenta

For the present study, the participants were made to undergo a genetic testing and were investigated for pregnancy history. The researchers discovered that genetic makeup was associated with the propensity to develop schizophrenia, along with other pregnancy complications. It was found that an individual with high genetic risk coupled with a history of complicated pregnancy had five times higher risk of developing schizophrenia compared to those with high genetic risk but no serious pregnancy complications. Thus, the health of a placenta is important in order to prevent any mental problems in the child later.

The researchers set out to study the gene expression, the way in which a gene encodes, and found out that in difficult pregnancy cases like preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction cases, the genes pertaining to schizophrenia were ‘turned on’ in the placenta. The turned on placenta also exhibited other signals of being under distress like inflammation.

Daniel Weinberger, lead study researcher and CEO of the Lieber Institute, said that for the first time the scientists were able to establish a link between early life complications, genetic risk factors and a susceptibility to develop a mental disorder. He also stated that everything eventually comes down to the placenta.

Earlier research had pointed out that the rate of mental health disorders like ADHD and autism is higher in males compared to females. The study also drew a similar conclusion and found the gene activation to be much higher in the placenta of the male child. Dr. Weinberger hoped that future researches would focus on the prevention and timely management of these mental health disorders.

Road to recovery

The first line of therapy prescribed for dealing with mental disorders like schizophrenia is the administration of antipsychotic medication like fluphenazine, haloperidol, chlorpromazine and perphenazine. These medications help in the alleviation of the symptoms loose associations, delusions, hallucinations and thought disorder. However, these medications could cause cognitive dulling, involuntary movements and other adverse effects. Therefore, it should be supplemented with reality-based or supportive psychotherapy which helps the patient deal with the stigma associated with the disorder. In addition to this, cognitive behavioral therapy is also used wherein, a therapist helps the patient reorient his/her thoughts and perceptions. Thus, one must understand that timely treatment is the key to better living and any delay can worsen the situation, pushing the patient toward various complications.

Sovereign Health is one of the finest schizophrenia treatment centers in California. Our mental health rehabilitation facilities offer evidence-based schizophrenia treatment in California to help people with the disorder live a better life. Call at our 24/7 helpline 866-973-7164 or chat online with a representative to know about our credible mental health treatment for schizophrenia.

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