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Schizophrenia research

Working towards a better understanding of the causes and triggers of schizophrenia.

Our schizophrenia research has been published in some of the world's leading scientific journals, and our team has played a key role in discovering the genes that affect an individual's risk of developing schizophrenia.

Thanks to our recent discoveries we are now closer than ever to understanding how biology and genetics interact to cause this debilitating condition.

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a severe mental health problem that affects around 1% of the world's population. That may not sound significant, but that means in the UK population alone, there are over 600,000 individuals living with this condition.

Schizophrenia affects the way a person thinks, feels and behaves. The most well-known symptoms of schizophrenia are hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that do not exist) and delusions (unusual beliefs that are not based on evidence). Other symptoms can also include problems with mood and a dulling of emotions. The media often draws links between schizophrenia and violence, but it is actually quite rare for people with the condition to be violent.

Our schizophrenia research

Our schizophrenia work covers a variety of areas. There is a major focus on genetic and genomic studies, and we have identified a large number of specific genetic risk factors for schizophrenia through our work here in Cardiff and through our international collaborations.

We are also interested in how genetic factors influence drug response and how they interact with various environmental triggers.

We are also interested in how risk genes impact on brain function and behaviour, and we ae using systems biology approaches to understand which particular aspects of brain function are affected.

We are also conducting neuroimaging studies and work in various model systems, including stem cell models, to understand the mechanisms by which the genes we have discovered lead to an increased risk of schizophrenia.

At present, treatments for schizophrenia are not always successful and can potentially cause unpleasant side effects. We hope that furthering our genetic and biological understanding of the disease, we will be in a better position to identify people at risk from developing schizophrenia as well as developing effective treatments to help manage this condition.

Helping with our research

We cannot undertake such vital research without your help. By becoming a volunteer in our research, you could make a real difference to the lives of people living with schizophrenia.

We are looking to recruit people aged 16 and over with a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder, including:

  • schizophrenia
  • schizophreniform
  • schizoaffective disorder
  • psychosis not otherwise specified and 
  • delusional disorder.

Helping with our schizophrenia research invovles a one-off visit of between 2-3 hours, either in your own home or at our clinic - whichever is most comfortable for you. To thank you for your participation, you'll receive a small payment for your time.

If you take part, our researchers will:

  • Ask you to complete a small set of memory and concentration tasks
  • Ask you some questions about your health, symptoms you might have experienced and your treatment
  • Take a small sample of blood from your arm for the genetic part of our study.

Appointments will be arranged for a time and date to suit you, and all the information we collect is stored confidentially. If you'd like to help, contact us at psychosisresearch@cardiff.ac.uk.