Research backs theory on autism, schizophrenia

Nov 30, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research by Simon Fraser University evolutionary biologist Bernard Crespi reinforces his theory that autism and schizophrenia are diametric or opposite conditions based on genes.

His latest study, Comparative Genomics of and Schizophrenia, is published today (Nov. 30) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

"Our findings provide new insights into the 'genomic architecture' of these major human mental illnesses," says Crespi, who a year ago stunned the global scientific community with his theory suggesting that genes passed on from either parent can steer development in certain directions.

Crespi says the work supports the hypothesis that risks of autism and schizophrenia “have evolved in conjunction with the evolution and elaboration of the human social brain.”

Crespi's latest research involves analyses of all of the genetic and genomic data available on autism and schizophrenia.

With it, Crespi and his research team evaluated and tested alternative theories for the relationship of autistic conditions with schizophrenia conditions.

Among their findings, data from studies of head and brain size “phenotypes” -the physical or biochemical characteristics of organisms as determined by genetics and the environment - show that autism is commonly associated with developmentally enhanced brain growth, while schizophrenia is characterized by reduced brain growth.

"The most significant finding of this research is its clear support for the model of autism and as being diametric or opposite conditions," says Crespi.

Provided by Simon Fraser University

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designmemetic
5 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2009
So does this mean it's impossible to suffer from both autism and schizophrenia in the same person? does it mean that as the risk for one goes up the risk for the other goes down. do the curves for risk of autism and schizophrenia in a single person ever intersect and if so at what level and could that intersection point be used to determine what treatment or practices should be pursued and which would be counterproductive?
whatdaplease
not rated yet Dec 05, 2009
To the person above,
I know people who have BOTH autism and schizophrenia! I was so shocked and felt so bad for them to have two horrible diseases at once. At first I thought that these people were evidence that schizophrenia and autism could not have been on a spectrum, because if they are opposites, how could one have both, but then I realized that a spectrum means, that they could be in the middle of schizophrenia and autism and display both symptoms.
KRB_1
not rated yet Dec 19, 2009
That's very rare to have both autism and schizophrenia, in fact what you are most likely seeing is schizoaffective personality disorder which often does occur in autistics, or bipolar disorder. Schizophrenia itself is so rare in autism simply because the brains of schizophrenics are under-developed while those of autism are over developed. In the middle of that is depression, OCD, bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorder, beyond that is schizophrenia. If you're in academia, then I assume you're around mathemeticians and physicists, or theoreticians, these are mostly autism, chizoaffective individuals or OCD. Experimentalists are aspergers, bipolar, and OCD. I have yet to meet a person with schizophrenia, in an academic setting, except for John Nash, and in my opinion he has schizoaffective disorder or is bipolar. There are genetic exams you can do to test as well as medical imaging studies to prove this. You may want to look at the neurexin-1 gene.
WIREPULL
not rated yet Dec 31, 2009
MY 20 YR OLD SON HAS AUTISM, IN THE LAST FEW YEARS HE HAS BEEN PUNCHING HIS TEACHERS, CLASS MATES, ONE PUNCH THEN IS VERY SORRY THAT HE DID IT, SEEMS TO BE UNCONTROLABLE.HE DOES NOT WANT ANY ONE TO BE NEAR HIM,SEEMS TO BE VERY AFRAID.HE GOES TO A WELL KNOWN AUTISM DR.THAT CAN NOT GET TO WHY HE IS STRIKING OUT .HE IS ON ABILIFY AND ADHD MEDS BUT IS NOT HELPING.HE HAS BEEN ON MANY MEDS.I JUST DON,T WHAT TO DO,ANY ADVICE WOULD BE GREAT.