Analysis of Schizophrenia

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Analysis of schizophrenia in the world population has determined that the disease has a low incidence but a high prevalence due to the chronic nature of the disorder. Although evidence has shown that schizophrenia does have a tendency to be passed along in families, other studies have implicated the environment, in addition to genetics, as a factor in developing the disorder. Because the economic burden of treating and caring for those affected by schizophrenia exceeds $30 billion annually, understanding the molecular foundation of the disorder and developing treatment needs to be a priority. While researchers do not have a clear understanding of how schizophrenia works, there still exists some knowledge about the trait and its basis.
The hereditary nature of schizophrenia has been well documented. A 1993 case study in West Ireland found a 6.5% risk of schizophrenia in individuals who have relatives with the disorder compared to a 0.5% risk for individuals with unaffected relatives (Kendler et al., 1993).
Furthermore, twin studies in 1999 reported heritability estimates ranging from 41% to 87% (Cardno et al., 1999). More recently, a 2009 population-based study determined that there was increased risk of schizophrenia in first-degree relatives of probands with the disorder and that heritability for schizophrenia was 64% (Lichtenstein et al., 2009). Although several genetic risk factors have been identified, the risk associated with neuregulin-1 (NRG1) is the most common and
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