Schizophrenia is an illness of the brain that causes intense psychotic episodes involving delusions and hallucinations, as well as longer periods of social withdrawal, reduced emotional expression, motivation and learning and memory disturbances. It is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental insults to the brain which affect brain development.
Today, there is no cure. With your help we many just find one.
Current treatments are untargeted and only provide benefits for the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia, but provide no relief for symptoms associated with reduced motivation, emotional expression, memory, and learning deficits.
- Schizophrenia affects approximately one in 100 people worldwide and has a significant genetic component
- It affects men and women equally, with the onset of symptoms usually appearing in males between 18 and 25 years and in females between 25 years and the mid-30s (with a second peak at the onset of menopause).
- Schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder, and subtle symptoms may begin many years earlier. While it's known that it can be triggered in vulnerable people by environmental factors, what these triggers are and why they affect certain individuals is still unknown
The Florey’s research looks at understanding molecular changes in the brains of people with schizophrenia as a step toward identifying potential new drug treatment targets. Our scientists are exploring the link between sex steroid hormones and schizophrenia. Estrogen and progesterone are thought to be protective.
Zinc imbalance in the brain is another exciting avenue of research, with altered zinc regulation in the brains of people with schizophrenia. Florey scientists have developed a novel model of zinc regulation which may lead to new drug development leads.