Investigators at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have discovered for the first time, direct evidence of a genetic overlap between schizophrenia and general cognitive ability. The findings are published online in Molecular Psychiatry.
Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder that affects approximately 2.2 million Americans each year. It is characterized by a significant reduction in general cognitive abilities, so that many patients struggle with completing school, holding jobs and achieving their full potential. Previous studies have indicated subtle cognitive abnormalities in undiagnosed and unmedicated relatives of patients who live with schizophrenia, which suggests the possibility of genetic overlap between risk for schizophrenia and cognitive traits. These previous studies, however, did not test this overlap on the molecular level.