Consequences of intelligence: Schizophrenia can only develop in humans

Consequences of intelligence: Schizophrenia can only develop in humans

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Complex brain: people can become schizophrenic - animals cannot
To date, the causes of the development of schizophrenia are largely unclear. It is known that only humans can become schizophrenic, but not animals. Researchers have now found out why.

Causes of schizophrenia largely unclear
Around one percent of the population develops schizophrenia in the course of life. The causes of the development of schizophrenia are still largely unclear. Recently, scientists discovered certain gene changes as a risk factor for schizophrenia. Patients with this serious mental illness have a two to three times higher death rate than people without such a diagnosis. The causes of death are often cardiovascular diseases, as was found in a study last year. In schizophrenic people, perception, thinking and feeling change, as does the inner drive and way of moving. In many cases so strong that friends or relatives think they have another person in front of them.

Animals cannot become schizophrenic
As "Die Welt" reports online, schizophrenia has an exceptional position: the serious illness is reserved for humans. Animals can also get other mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder. For example, dogs can be over-anxious, monkeys depressed, and animals that are kept captive often develop obsessive-compulsive disorders. However, schizophrenia has never been observed in the animal kingdom, according to the information. Researchers around geneticist Joel Dudley from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York have now found out why. In the journal “Molecular Biology and Evolution”, the scientists report that the highly specialized complex brain is responsible for the fact that schizophrenia was able to develop - and only in humans.

Dark side of the complex brain
According to the information, Dudley's laboratory examined the so-called Human Accelerated Regions (HARs). These are short sections of DNA that changed extremely rapidly and massively when the human ancestor genetically split off from the chimpanzee. Probably because it gave evolutionary benefits to humans. As "Die Welt" writes, the HARs often happened to be in close proximity to genes that also contribute to schizophrenia. In addition, the genes were jointly responsible for the transmission of the messenger GABA from one nerve cell to the next. This forwarding is disturbed in schizophrenia. The consequences of this can include hallucinations, delusions and bizarre thoughts. In conclusion, a schizophrenic brain is, so to speak, the dark side of the highly complex brain of humans. The HARs help - if everything works - to make it superior to all other animal species, but if something goes wrong with the control by the HARs, then everything in the area of ​​the brain that actually makes humans so intelligent is completely mixed up. (ad)

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