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A new and shocking look at Schizophrenia

justabubba

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interesting read; but it appears to have been dated as a 2001 composition
 

missypea

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Theories suggest Schizophrenia is caused by an endogenous retrovirus in our DNA.

Retroviruses and the pathogenesis of schizophrenia
The topic interests me and I did read the article but it was challenging. Tell me if I'm following this correctly. A retrovirus is something that mirrors DNA but with a twist and then new cells generate from the RNA instead of the DNA? The article said HIV was RNA?
Am I understanding it correctly?

If they can link schizophrenia to a retrovirus then we'd be one giant step closer to a cure, right?
 

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If they can link schizophrenia to a retrovirus then we'd be one giant step closer to a cure, right?
I know someone who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the late 60s.
They said it might've been because she had mumps really bad and almost died of it.
The year after that, she went bazonkers.
They told her parents that sometimes mumps causes it.
 

Orion

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The topic interests me and I did read the article but it was challenging. Tell me if I'm following this correctly. A retrovirus is something that mirrors DNA but with a twist and then new cells generate from the RNA instead of the DNA? The article said HIV was RNA?
Am I understanding it correctly?

If they can link schizophrenia to a retrovirus then we'd be one giant step closer to a cure, right?
A retrovirus begins as viral RNA. It basically can't do anything in that form other than enter a host cell. Once it does, it uses the machinery of the host cell (including the cell's own ability to replicate DNA for cell division) to make copies of itself. Once enough copies are made, the cell bursts and dies.

It's theorized that there are retroviruses which are the cause of long-term chronic illnesses because once those particular strains hijack the cell's machinery, they become permanently part of the host's DNA, which messes up your body for life. In fact, many of our evolutionarily-acquired diseases may be due to viruses in our ancestral past, since the same messed up DNA gets passed down when you reproduce.

I read an article about chronic fatigue syndrome a couple of months ago and they're finding viral evidence for it. That doesn't correlate to my own understanding and treatment of it, but it's still interesting.

If schizophrenia can be caused by retroviruses, then I want to know the reseachers' explanation for why schizophrenia largely develops in adolescence and not other age groups.

As for a cure... that might be difficult. They'd have to find out the origin of infection and create a childhood vaccine for it, but retroviruses are notoriously difficult to make vaccines for. Still, knowing the root would be helpful.
 

First Thought

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A retrovirus begins as viral RNA. It basically can't do anything in that form other than enter a host cell. Once it does, it uses the machinery of the host cell (including the cell's own ability to replicate DNA for cell division) to make copies of itself. Once enough copies are made, the cell bursts and dies.

It's theorized that there are retroviruses which are the cause of long-term chronic illnesses because once those particular strains hijack the cell's machinery, they become permanently part of the host's DNA, which messes up your body for life. In fact, many of our evolutionarily-acquired diseases may be due to viruses in our ancestral past, since the same messed up DNA gets passed down when you reproduce.

I read an article about chronic fatigue syndrome a couple of months ago and they're finding viral evidence for it. That doesn't correlate to my own understanding and treatment of it, but it's still interesting.

If schizophrenia can be caused by retroviruses, then I want to know the reseachers' explanation for why schizophrenia largely develops in adolescence and not other age groups.

As for a cure... that might be difficult. They'd have to find out the origin of infection and create a childhood vaccine for it, but retroviruses are notoriously difficult to make vaccines for. Still, knowing the root would be helpful.
I strongly suggest that you read this month's issue of Discover magazine.
 

missypea

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If schizophrenia can be caused by retroviruses, then I want to know the reseachers' explanation for why schizophrenia largely develops in adolescence and not other age groups.
My poor niece has it. It happened her first year of college.......very common from what I hear. God, it's just horribly tragic.

She's never been one of the "lucky" ones that you read about who are able to live their life with medication. She was an outgoing, chatty, beautiful, skinny 19 year old when everything just stopped for her. It's been about 15 years now.

The medication to stop the symptoms also cause significant weight gain, lethargy, etc. She does still get paranoid but not "crazy". She sleeps a lot, avoids family functions a lot
It's near impossible to have a conversation with her. Yeah, No, I don't know.......

It's tragic. She had everything going for her and she has no life anymore. It affected all of us but my niece, my sister and her husband more than anyone, of course.

No-one in our family has had this before but I always read it was hereditary. Scares me to death if I think about it too much. If it is hereditary, her father's side had some mental issues but how do you know?
I worry about my son who is 20. What if it is in our families' gene pool from 100 years ago? I'm really in no hurry to have him leave home and take on "stressors" that could kick it off.

:(
 

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No-one in our family has had this before but I always read it was hereditary. Scares me to death if I think about it too much. If it is hereditary, her father's side had some mental issues but how do you know?
I worry about my son who is 20. What if it is in our families' gene pool from 100 years ago? I'm really in no hurry to have him leave home and take on "stressors" that could kick it off.
It has a hereditary component.
But I think what one inherits is the propensity for it; it also seems to need some external trigger.
20 is late for it to manifest. Typically, there will be signs in adolescence.
I wouldn't worry about your son.
 

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It has a hereditary component.
But I think what one inherits is the propensity for it; it also seems to need some external trigger.
20 is late for it to manifest. Typically, there will be signs in adolescence.
I wouldn't worry about your son.

Thanks, Ten. It's hard not to worry.........you know.


Yes but if you have the propensity for it all you need is one trigger to set things in motion. I read that there would typically be signs in adolescence but my niece didn't have any signs as a kid/teen. She was normal. The only funny thing she did that may have been odd is that she liked to smell things when she was little......everything. Strawberry Shortcake was still in style and she had them all so smelling was a big deal to that age group.....I guess that's not really odd.

What are signs in adolescence?
 

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Thanks, Ten. It's hard not to worry.........you know.


Yes but if you have the propensity for it all you need is one trigger to set things in motion. I read that there would typically be signs in adolescence but my niece didn't have any signs as a kid/teen. She was normal. The only funny thing she did that may have been odd is that she liked to smell things when she was little......everything. Strawberry Shortcake was still in style and she had them all so smelling was a big deal to that age group.....I guess that's not really odd.

What are signs in adolescence?
Schizophrenia Symptoms

Schizophrenia: First Warning Signs - HealthyPlace

* Excessive fatigue and sleepiness or an inability to sleep
* Social withdrawal, isolation and reclusiveness
* Deterioration of social relationships
* Inability to concentrate or cope with minor problems
* Apparent indifference, even in highly important situations
* Dropping out of activities (skipping classes)
* Decline in academic and athletic performance
* Deterioration of personal hygiene; eccentric dress
* Frequent moves or trips or long walks leading nowhere
* Drug or alcohol abuse
* Undue preoccupation with spiritual or religious matters
* Bizarre behaviour
* Inappropriate laughter
* Strange posturing
* Low tolerance to irritation
* Excessive writing without apparent meaning
* Inability to express emotion
* Irrational statements
* Peculiar use of words or language structure
* Conversation that seems deep but is not logical or coherent
* Staring; vagueness
* Unusual sensitivity to stimuli (noise, light)
* Forgetfulness


So much of this sounds like normal adolescent weirdness and posturing.
I think you'd really have to know your kid well to see the symptoms.
Even if you saw some alarming things- social withdrawal, lapses of hygiene and attention- it would be so easy to attribute it to drug use. Isn't that the first thing we always suspect when kids act weird?
I'm sure you've been watching your son closely and would know if anything was amiss.
It sounds like you two really have a close relationship.
 

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She's never been one of the "lucky" ones that you read about who are able to live their life with medication. She was an outgoing, chatty, beautiful, skinny 19 year old when everything just stopped for her. It's been about 15 years now.

The medication to stop the symptoms also cause significant weight gain, lethargy, etc. She does still get paranoid but not "crazy". She sleeps a lot, avoids family functions a lot
It's near impossible to have a conversation with her. Yeah, No, I don't know.......

It's tragic. She had everything going for her and she has no life anymore. It affected all of us but my niece, my sister and her husband more than anyone, of course.

No-one in our family has had this before but I always read it was hereditary. Scares me to death if I think about it too much. If it is hereditary, her father's side had some mental issues but how do you know?
I worry about my son who is 20. What if it is in our families' gene pool from 100 years ago? I'm really in no hurry to have him leave home and take on "stressors" that could kick it off.

:(
I practice Traditional Chinese Medicine in a school/clinic in BC and although TCM is an ancient, non-scientific medicine, there are some aspects of it that correlate to Western Medicine in a fascinating way. When it comes to mental disorders a big portion of them are aggravated by something called "liver qi stagnation" which is a TCM term. It has many causes, but one (according to the modern understanding) is stagnation following infection. A lot of diseases act on the liver as it is the primary centre for blood factor creation and so infection can spread to it easily. The correlation here is that viruses can act on the liver, and in TCM liver stagnation causes mania and psychosis in severe stages, because under that philosophy the liver governs the emotional mind. So my running theory is that following a viral attack the body is left weakened, which leads to mental imbalance.

I've seen patients in the clinic who have severe mental disorders and their parents are at their wit's end. I've only seen a handful of schizophrenic clients but they all showed patterns of liver stagnation, and although they weren't cured completely, if you release the stagnation (through herbal therapy and acupuncture, combined with Western psychology therapy), their mood and disposition can improve greatly.
 
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digsbe

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If schizophrenia was caused by a retrovirus then couldn't it be spread from person to person? It seems schizophrenia may have a genetic component to it (as it tends to run in families).
 

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If schizophrenia was caused by a retrovirus then couldn't it be spread from person to person? It seems schizophrenia may have a genetic component to it (as it tends to run in families).
This is an endogenous retrovirus. Simply, everyone already has it. It is embedded in our DNA. 40% of human DNA is considered "junk DNA" that serves no function. Retroviruses are part of the "junk DNA" category. Certain studies suggest schizophrenia is a result of the retrovirus "waking up" and becoming active.
 

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This is an endogenous retrovirus. Simply, everyone already has it. It is embedded in our DNA. 40% of human DNA is considered "junk DNA" that serves no function. Retroviruses are part of the "junk DNA" category. Certain studies suggest schizophrenia is a result of the retrovirus "waking up" and becoming active.
You put that in very understandable terms. Thanks!

:2wave:
 

digsbe

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This is an endogenous retrovirus. Simply, everyone already has it. It is embedded in our DNA. 40% of human DNA is considered "junk DNA" that serves no function. Retroviruses are part of the "junk DNA" category. Certain studies suggest schizophrenia is a result of the retrovirus "waking up" and becoming active.
If it stems from viral DNA that is imbedded in us then there should be a unique protein product within individuals that have schizophrenia. It would be more believable if they sampled brain tissue and tested it for an abnormal protein or if they checked the proteins active between normal individuals and individuals with schizophrenia. I am just somewhat skeptical about saying schizophrenia is due to viral DNA.
 

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A retrovirus begins as viral RNA. It basically can't do anything in that form other than enter a host cell. Once it does, it uses the machinery of the host cell (including the cell's own ability to replicate DNA for cell division) to make copies of itself. Once enough copies are made, the cell bursts and dies.

It's theorized that there are retroviruses which are the cause of long-term chronic illnesses because once those particular strains hijack the cell's machinery, they become permanently part of the host's DNA, which messes up your body for life. In fact, many of our evolutionarily-acquired diseases may be due to viruses in our ancestral past, since the same messed up DNA gets passed down when you reproduce.

I read an article about chronic fatigue syndrome a couple of months ago and they're finding viral evidence for it. That doesn't correlate to my own understanding and treatment of it, but it's still interesting.

If schizophrenia can be caused by retroviruses, then I want to know the reseachers' explanation for why schizophrenia largely develops in adolescence and not other age groups.

As for a cure... that might be difficult. They'd have to find out the origin of infection and create a childhood vaccine for it, but retroviruses are notoriously difficult to make vaccines for. Still, knowing the root would be helpful.
If schizophrenia was caused by retroviruses, then medication would not work. My wife has schizophrenia (Just like John Nash did, if you ever saw the movie "A Beautiful Mind"), and she has been taking a medication called Zyprexa for many years to correct what her psychiatrist called an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. The medicine works. She has not had any major problems since she began taking the medication, which means that her illness was caused by exactly what the doctors said caused it - A chemical imbalance, and not due to any biological pathogen.
 
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missypea

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If schizophrenia was caused by retroviruses, then medication would not work. My wife has schizophrenia (Just like John Nash did, if you ever saw the movie "A Beautiful Mind"), and she has been taking a medication called Zyprexa for many years to correct what her psychiatrist called an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. The medicine works. She has not had any major problems since she began taking the medication, which means that her illness was caused by exactly what the doctors said caused it - A chemical imbalance, and not due to any biological pathogen.
I didn't know that your wife had schizophrenia. I'm glad the medicine works for her. She's one of the success stories. You're lucky.
I'm curious, did she hit pay dirt with the first drug she tried or did she have to try a few different ones before responding well to Zyprexa?
I know that many people respond to the different medicines available and are able to live full lives. I wish my niece was one of them. Nothing she's tried has ever worked. There were two different drugs she tried and we were all really hopeful because she started interacting again and not being so paranoid but then it went south with the voices, mania......

They're always coming up with something new so we all just hope the next new drug will be the one.
 

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If schizophrenia was caused by retroviruses, then medication would not work. My wife has schizophrenia (Just like John Nash did, if you ever saw the movie "A Beautiful Mind"), and she has been taking a medication called Zyprexa for many years to correct what her psychiatrist called an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. The medicine works. She has not had any major problems since she began taking the medication, which means that her illness was caused by exactly what the doctors said caused it - A chemical imbalance, and not due to any biological pathogen.
Most neurotransmitters (the "chemicals" in the brain) are derived from amino acids (amino acid based or amine based) which are linked together within the machinery of nervous cells, and DNA in turn directs that process through a complex series of instructions. In other words, DNA is responsible for those chemicals being made, and if the retrovirus theory is true then viral RNA could disrupt the proper manufacture of those neurotransmitters.

I too would like to see more proof of this retrovirus theory as I am skeptical, but it's an interesting idea nonetheless.
 

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.....

I read an article about chronic fatigue syndrome a couple of months ago and they're finding viral evidence for it. That doesn't correlate to my own understanding and treatment of it, but it's still interesting.
Yes, quite familiar with this.
About a year ago, a Woman researcher at Whittmore Peterson institute (Mikovits) found app 95% CFS/CFIDS patients had XMRV, a retrovirus.

the end result they think will be an AIDS-like Cocktail of drugs to suppress, as virtually all other retros, they aren't curable, just suppressable.

If schizophrenia can be caused by retroviruses, then I want to know the reseachers' explanation for why schizophrenia largely develops in adolescence and not other age groups.
Immune system fully matures about lates teens, perhaps stops growing/replacing so readily and the RV has a more stable target.

As for a cure... that might be difficult. They'd have to find out the origin of infection and create a childhood vaccine for it, but retroviruses are notoriously difficult to make vaccines for. Still, knowing the root would be helpful.
The cure would have to be some biogenetic agent.. the treatment, as above, in the meantime could be an cocktail of suppressant drugs.

Retros, it's been suggested, may even play a bigger part in human evolution than can be imagined.
-
-
 
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If it stems from viral DNA that is imbedded in us then there should be a unique protein product within individuals that have schizophrenia. It would be more believable if they sampled brain tissue and tested it for an abnormal protein or if they checked the proteins active between normal individuals and individuals with schizophrenia. I am just somewhat skeptical about saying schizophrenia is due to viral DNA.
You should read the article in this month's Discover magazine. It may answer some of your questions.
 

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If schizophrenia was caused by retroviruses, then medication would not work. My wife has schizophrenia (Just like John Nash did, if you ever saw the movie "A Beautiful Mind"), and she has been taking a medication called Zyprexa for many years to correct what her psychiatrist called an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. The medicine works. She has not had any major problems since she began taking the medication, which means that her illness was caused by exactly what the doctors said caused it - A chemical imbalance, and not due to any biological pathogen.
Why could a pathogen not create a chemical imbalance?
 

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