Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and schizophrenia may be caused by similar gene mutations that affect the way neurons work, according to new research.
Researchers found that 14.3 percent of the genetic variations linked to ALS were also present in people with schizophrenia, suggesting the diseases may be related.
The study, “Genetic Correlation Between Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis And Schizophrenia,” was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Schizophrenia, a psychiatric disorder, is characterized by persistent mental illness that affects a person’s behavior, thinking, and emotions. Symptoms can include hallucinations and delusions, reduced motivation, poor cognitive abilities and social interaction difficulties.
Both ALS and schizophrenia are caused by genetic mutations, meaning they can strike people in different generations of the same family. Previous research has shown that the incidence of schizophrenia can be high in relatives of ALS patients, again suggesting a relationship between the two.