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Finding may help unlock questions surrounding schizophrenia

Few people can imagine what it would be like to have their lives be turned upside down essentially overnight. However, the sudden onset of an illness or catastrophic injury can do this. As a result, people and their loved ones are forced to make life adjustments at a moment's notice.

One condition that falls into this category is schizophrenia. According to Medical News Today, this mental illness generally emerges between the ages of 16 and 30. It's characterized by hallucinations, paranoia and shifts in thought processes. The problem is that no one is too sure what causes this condition to develop.

Given what's known about schizophrenia, a healthy adult could suddenly lose perception of reality. Without the ability to think clearly or understand what's real and what isn't, it's not hard to see why a person would no longer be able to maintain a day-to-day schedule, which includes being able to earn a steady paycheck.

Not long ago, medical researchers from Columbia University made a discovery that could provide some insight into this mysterious mental health condition. They found rare genetic mutations in schizophrenia patients that weren't present in their healthy parents.

Researchers point out that being able to identify genetic markers could help in early detection of schizophrenia and allow individuals to receive treatment. The hope is that this would lead to better long-term health outcomes.

Although this could turn out to be a critical finding in terms of diagnosing and managing schizophrenia, nothing is definite. Not only that, but thousands of Americans suffer from schizophrenia right now. As such, those individuals may need access to care and resources to help make difficult adjustments.

Source: Medical News Today, "Researchers identify genetic mutations that may cause schizophrenia," Honor Whiteman, May 29, 2014

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