Schizophrenia is a complex, multidimensional mental disorder that affects numerous lives directly or indirectly. Like for many psychiatric disorders, no cure has been devised, and we know little about schizophrenia as a whole. One study published in the scientific journal Nature, has made an important discovery in understanding and potentially predicting the possibility of inheriting the psychiatric disorder.
In your brain, different genes play different roles in developing brain patterns and assessing the outside environment. The important gene in this study is C4, which has two variants, C4A and C4B, that have the possibility of contributing to developing schizophrenia. The development of this theory began with sampling 245 cadaver’s brain. The samples showed that individuals that had schizophrenia exhibited C4A levels in the brain that were three times as larger as people without the psychiatric disorder. Then 28,799 people with schizophrenia were compared by 35,986 people without schizophrenia. This provided evidence that people’s DNA that corresponded with the C4A protein were more likely to inherit schizophrenia. The third group, 35 schizophrenic patients and 70 without schizophrenia, were compared to measure RNA levels. C4A levels were 1.4 times greater in the schizophrenic group. The last part of the study involved the use of mice and observing the lack of the C4 protein. The lack of this protein creates the absence of another protein, C3. Without these two proteins, synaptic pruning cannot happen regularly in the brain. Synaptic pruning is essentially when the brain takes care of its nerve connections and cells, and makes stronger and healthier connections in order to function and make choices and decisions. It is hypothesized that people with schizophrenia have a type of the C4A protein that takes care of the brain too much compared to “regular brains.” Thus, their synaptic pruning misfires in their brain, and the synaptic pruning becomes too engaged with taking care of the connections and cells.
This a great advancement with schizophrenia, however, it’s one of the few studies concerning the mental disorder, especially the biological part. There haven’t been any follow-up studies, and the study does not list any complications with the work. It’s important to note it is still in no way possible to be able to fully understand or diagnose schizophrenia, for this study is one of the first of its kind, and it’s only a tiny piece on what goes on biologically in a person’s brain. There are more components at play, including environmental aspects of a person’s life. While it’s a tiny step, it’s still a step in the right direction for comprehending a psychiatric disorder that has been stigmatized and ignored for too long.
I picked probably the worst news article to critique and discuss. The information is important, and I enjoyed learning about it, but the article was actually well-written. The only problem that was evident in it was that the writer put too much emphasis on the mice group instead of each individual group, and the author went into more detail about what schizophrenia is, but other than that, it was a good read. I understand why she chose to do that because more people are interested in the symptoms and the overall experience of schizophrenia. I think it’s mainly because people are curious, but that’s not the point of the study, and it shouldn’t be the point of the article. It explained all over the scientific terms well, and I understood most of what the article was talking about. That being said, reading the scientific study and dissecting what it was actually saying was harder than nitpicking the news piece. There were many technical terms, and I had to touch up on biology and chemistry while reading it. Doing the critiques on both the article and study really helped me write this mock journalist piece because I had analyzed both texts three times, so I had a decent understanding of what needed to be told. This is an important study, but it’s kind of discouraging when the author has to describe the mental disorder extensively in order to get people to read and care about it, and there has to be a video included as well. I didn’t want to take away from the study’s findings with providing too much information over schizophrenia. Overall, I wish I had picked an easier article and study for the sake of my own workload, but this was an incredibly interesting study to review, and it goes to show how much effort goes into true journalism. A good article sells it to the audience, and still gives sufficient information about the study, and the author did a fairly good job of doing both.