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Blood test for diagnosing schizophrenia

is extremely difficult, the scientists focused on an earlier stage in receptor formation -- the stage at which messenger RNA molecules convey the genetic information needed for making dopamine receptors from the cell nucleus to the ribosome, the small cellular "factory" where the receptors are manufactured.

A statistical analysis showed that the blood of patients with schizophrenia contains, on average, 3.6 times more messenger RNA molecules of dopamine receptors of a particular kind, called D3, than the blood of healthy people. The high levels were observed in patients treated with a variety of drugs, as well as in patients who received no medications. On the basis of these findings, the scientists propose to use the blood test determining the levels of mRNA that encode D3 receptors on the membranes of white blood cells as a test for schizophrenia.


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Contact: Jeffrey J. Sussman
Jeffrey@acwis.org
212-895-7951
American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science
14-Jan-2001


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