A team of Columbia scientists has found that disruptions to the brain's center for spatial navigation -- its internal GPS -- result in some of the severe memory deficits seen in schizophrenia. The new study in mouse models of the disorder marks the first time that schizophrenia's effects have been observed in the behavior of living animals -- and at the level of individual brain cells -- with such high-resolution, precision and clarity. The findings offer a promising entry point for attacking a near-universal and debilitating symptom of schizophrenia, memory deficits, which has thus far withstood all forms of treatment. The results of this study were published online on September 4, 2017 in Nature Neuroscience. The article is titled “Impaired Hippocampal Place Cell Dynamics in a Mouse Model of 22q11.2 Deletion.” "An almost intractably complex disorder, schizophrenia is nearly impossible to fully treat -- in large part because it acts as two disorders in one," said Joseph Gogos, MD, PhD, a principal investigator at Columbia's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and the paper's co-senior author. "On one hand, you have paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions; while on the other, you have severe memory deficits. Antipsychotic drugs, which treat the first class of symptoms, are entirely ineffective when dealing with the second.
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