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Russian neuroscientists discovered the probable cause of schizophrenia

Natalia Kolomeets and Natalia Uranova, researchers at The Mental Health Research Centre (MRHC, Moscow), have established that there are less oligodendrocytes in one of the layers of the prefrontal cortex of the cerebral hemispheres of the brains of schizophrenic patients. Oligodendrocytes are auxiliary cells of the nervous tissue, they provide isolation for the nerve pathways, which carry the corresponding signals. The scientific article is published in the journal European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience.
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The study of brain slices of post-mortem donors has shown that anatomical-morphological disorders in the case of schizophrenia primarily affect the nerve fibres through which signals from neurons from one region of the brain are transmitted to the others regions. Patients with schizophrenia have 32% less oligodendrocytes — cells that produce myelin, which is necessary for the normal transfer of impulses along neurons. A shortage of oligodendrocytes was found in the area of the brain necessary for planning actions, making decisions on the basis of previously stored information and logical calculations.

The results support the hypothesis that in case of schizophrenia the work of sites of the cortex of the cerebral hemispheres, responsible for higher mental functions, is disrupted, the prefrontal cortex in the first place.

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