Schizophrenia Might Not Just Be In The Brain

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Most people think of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder as illnesses of the brain. But researchers at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital in Belmont say they have discovered possible evidence of these diseases in other parts of the body, too — and that could lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating mental illness.

In studies of patients with bipolar disorder, the researchers found abnormalities in their mitochondria, which are sometimes described as “cellular power plants” because they’re a main source of the body’s chemical energy.

The brain needs enormous amounts of energy to function properly, which suggests that these mitochondrial abnormalities could be a potential cause of psychiatric illness.

The researchers were able to see visual differences in the mitochondria of patients in three groups: those with bipolar disorder, those with schizophrenia, and a control group….

Reported By Jessica Alpert
wbur.org
http://www.wbur.org/2010/08/10/schizophrenia-study

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