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Smoking could increase the risk of schizophrenia
New research suggests that
Smoking alters the impact of a gene related to schizophrenia. This
gene, transcription factor 4 (TCF4), is known to play a key role in the
early brain development.
The study showed that healthy adults
Carriers of TCF4 variants and who smoke, process acoustic stimuli less effectively than the rest, as occurs in patients with schizophrenia.
This effect was more pronounced the more people smoked, whereas in non-smoking gene carriers, no stimulus processing was observed.
The electroencephalogram was used to see
how 1821 healthy adults processed certain simple acoustic stimuli (a
sequence of clicks that sounded similar). Of the total number of participants
of the study, 1,023 had never smoked and 798 were smokers.
In healthy people, during normal processing of one stimulus, processing of other irrelevant stimuli is suppressed. At
In the case of people with schizophrenia, there are deficiencies when performing this type
stimulus filtering, so these brains are flooded with
Too much information.
Quednow BB, Brinkmeyer J, Mobascher A, Nothnagel M, Musso F, Gründer G, et al. Proceedings National Academy of Science (2012). On-line.