Conceptual image of a person's brain with a cluster of cells inside
Is the Immune System to Blame for Schizophrenia?
Several lines of evidence suggest that targeting the body’s defense pathways might help treat a subset of people with the psychiatric disorder. But many open questions remain.
ABOVE: Modified from © istock.com, Viki, yodiyim
Is the Immune System to Blame for Schizophrenia?
Is the Immune System to Blame for Schizophrenia?

Several lines of evidence suggest that targeting the body’s defense pathways might help treat a subset of people with the psychiatric disorder. But many open questions remain.

Several lines of evidence suggest that targeting the body’s defense pathways might help treat a subset of people with the psychiatric disorder. But many open questions remain.

ABOVE: Modified from © istock.com, Viki, yodiyim

schizophrenia

Illustration comparing neural pathway and the humoral pathway
Infographic: How the Body’s Defenses Attack the Brain
Diana Kwon | Apr 18, 2022
Scientists have pinpointed several pathways through which the immune system could disrupt neuronal functioning and thereby lead to psychotic symptoms.
A lithograph of a woman sitting up in bed while a nurse attends to her.
Death by Nostalgia, 1688
Lisa Winter | Feb 1, 2022
Before its association with a pining for the toys or TV shows of yesteryear, nostalgia was deemed a dangerous psychiatric disorder.
GWAS, psychotic disorder, mood disorder, Q&A, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, sex differences
Genetic Variants Tied to Sex Differences in Psychiatric Disorders
Amanda Heidt | Mar 31, 2021
The largest study of its kind identifies single nucleotide polymorphisms with disparate effects on men’s and women’s susceptibility to conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Wanted: Healthy Brains
Ashley Yeager | Feb 25, 2020
Brain banks have struggled to convince unaffected individuals to donate, hampering studies on “cognitively normal” neurodevelopment and aging.
Gut Microbes May Play a Role in Mental Health Disorders
Ashley Yeager | Jul 5, 2019
The gut microbiome has been linked to depression, schizophrenia, and other neurological conditions, but it’s not yet clear whether the relationship is causal.
neurological brain speech
Computers Extract Disease Clues from Speech
Jef Akst | May 1, 2019
AI models can pick up subtle alterations in linguistic and vocal attributes of spoken language that may be indicative of failing health.
march 2019 the scientist profile
Master Decoder: A Profile of Kári Stefánsson
Anna Azvolinsky | Mar 1, 2019
A neurologist by training, Stefánsson founded Iceland-based deCODE Genetics to explore what the human genome can tell us about disease and our species’ evolution.
Analysis of 2,000 Brains Provides Clues to Schizophrenia, Autism
Catherine Offord | Dec 14, 2018
The PsychENCODE project delves into the DNA, RNA, and protein changes related to brain development and neuropsychiatric disorders, but researchers caution it’s just a first step toward treatment.
Placental Health Influences Baby’s Future Schizophrenia Risk, Study Suggests
Shawna Williams | May 29, 2018
Complications during pregnancy may act via the placenta to magnify the effects of genetic risk factors.
Perineuronal Nets: A Mechanism to Control Brain Plasticity
Daniela Carulli | Apr 1, 2018
The neuronal coverings that mediate synaptic changes are involved in everything from memory to psychiatric disorders, affecting autism, Alzheimer’s, and addiction.
Infographic: Structure of the Perineuronal Net
Daniela Carulli | Mar 31, 2018
See the web of proteins that make up these neuronal wrappings.
Gene Expression Overlaps Among Psychiatric Disorders
Ashley P. Taylor | Feb 8, 2018
Transcriptional profiling of post-mortem human brains reveals commonalities in the genes over- and under-expressed in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, and major depression. 
Decoding the Tripping Brain
Diana Kwon | Sep 1, 2017
Scientists are beginning to unravel the mechanisms behind the therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs.
First In Vivo Function Found for Animal Circular RNA
Catherine Offord | Aug 10, 2017
Mice lacking the RNA had deregulated microRNAs in the brain, disrupted synaptic communication, and behavioral abnormalities associated with neuropsychiatric disorders.
Genes Linked to Dogs’ Sociability with People
Jef Akst | Sep 30, 2016
Genetic variants on chromosome 26 appears to play a role in a dog’s tendency to turn to people for help.
Do Schizophrenic Brains Repair Themselves?
Jef Akst | Aug 1, 2016
Preliminary research suggests that the brains of schizophrenia patients may regain tissue mass as the illness wears on.
More Genetic Similarities Between Autism and Schizophrenia Found
Tanya Lewis | Jun 7, 2016
Another study finds similar gene expression in the brains of people with these disorders.
Perchance to Dream
Karen Zusi | Mar 1, 2016
Mapping the dreaming brain through neuroimaging and studies of brain damage
Schizophrenia and the Synapse
Ruth Williams | Jan 27, 2016
Genetic evidence suggests that overactive synaptic pruning drives development of schizophrenia.