Scientists unpack testosterone’s role in schizophrenia
Testosterone may trigger a brain chemical process linked to schizophrenia but the same sex hormone can also improve cognitive thinking skills in men with the disorder, two new studies show.
Scientists have long suspected testosterone plays an important role in schizophrenia, which affects more men than women. Men are also more likely to develop psychosis in adolescence, previous research has shown.
A new study on lab rodents by researchers from Neuroscience Research Australia analysed the impact increased testosterone had on levels of dopamine, a brain chemical linked to psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia.
The researchers found that testosterone boosted dopamine sensitivity in adolescent male rodents.
“From these rodent studies, we hypothesise that adolescent increases in circulating testosterone may be a driver of increased dopamine activity in the brains of individuals susceptible to psychosis and schizophrenia,” said senior Neuroscience Research Australia researcher and author of the study, Dr Tertia Purves-Tyson, who is presenting her work at the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research in Florida this week.
Dr Philip Mitchell, Scientia Professor and Head of the School of Psychiatry at the University of NSW, said the research was very interesting.
“The relationship between sex steroids, such as testosterone, and psychiatric disorders has long intrigued researchers. For example, we have known for many years that schizophrenia presents earlier in males than females, but the biological mechanism for this has been poorly understood,” said Dr Mitchell, who was not involved in the study.
“The rodent study by Professor Shannon Weickert from the School of Psychiatry at UNSW and NeuRA is therefore of particular interest. This study suggests an important interplay between circulating testosterone levels and the brain’s sensitivity to dopamine – a neurochemical which has been long implicated in the cause of schizophrenia,” said Dr Mitchell.
“This study suggests that it is the interplay between testosterone and dopamine which is critical. This is an important observation which may very well throw an important light on solving the puzzle of the biological causes of schizophrenia.”
A separate study by Dr Thomas Weickert at Neuroscience Research Australia examined the role testosterone plays in the cognitive thinking skills of men with schizophrenia.
The researchers examined testosterone levels in a group of 29 chronically ill men with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, and a control group of 20 healthy men and asked both groups to take a series of cognition tests.
“Circulating testosterone levels significantly predicted performance on verbal memory, processing speed, and working memory in men with schizophrenia … such that increased normal levels of testosterone were beneficial to thought processing in men with schizophrenia but circulating sex steroid levels did not appear to be related to cognitive function in healthy men,” the researchers reported.
“The results suggest that circulating sex steroids may influence thought processes in men with schizophrenia.”
Dr Melanie McDowall, a researcher at the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Institute, said the study added to a large body of evidence demonstrating a link between testosterone and schizophrenia.
“This is not surprising, given the link between testosterone and dopamine,” she said, adding that symptoms of schizophrenia predominantly began after puberty.
“However, as with most endocrine and mental illnesses, schizophrenia is multifaceted (genetic, environmental etc.), hence this may not be the be all and end.”
You know, my homie and secret best friend Neil deGrasse Tyson said it best….
This isn’t an issue of belief or should even be up for discussion. It’s not a debate- like gravity or that the Earth revolves around the Sun isn’t up for debate. It’s a fact, whether or not you like it. Sorry bro.
And any ‘educated fuck’ knows that vaccines are necessary and everyone who can have them should have them.
Have a lovely day, sugar.
Actually there’s a lot of research and knowledge supporting the fact that vaccines are NOT necessary. It is simply another thing that today’s health system is super big on, just like hospital births and c-sections. And a lot of people actually have long term and short term complications from getting vaccines. Ahem.
Dang guys, you thought I didn’t check my activity log every now and then? Because I knew shit like this would pop up. And, I just finished my block exam and am feeling fiesty.
Actually you’re wrong. That ‘research’ is either completely fabricated OR grossly misinterprets the data OR uses shitty research techniques to get the data they want- all which are grossly unethical, in case you’re curious. I’ve got slides from a recent lecture on vaccines (aka why I am so fired up about this nonsense). You can check out the citations on each slide if you don’t believe me… something unsurprisingly missing from literally every anti-vaccine comment I’ve gotten and website that I have visited. Show me your sources, honey, and if you do, I will blow them out of the water because not a single one stands up to current scientific research standards.
There are however tomes and tomes of research for the safety end efficacy of vaccines. Don’t believe me? Look at a simple google scholar search.
So! Here we go!
Holy shit, it’s almost like vaccines SAVE SOCIETY MONEY. In fact, they give money back to society, along with the other programs indicated by red arrows. Which would be really weird for something that is just a healthcare fad like c-sections and hospital births.
And most people have no complications for getting vaccines, and if they do, most of them are short term. In fact, it is devilishly hard to prove an adverse effect was because of a vaccine. Why? Because it’s how we’re wired. We falsely see connections and causes where there are none (called a type 1 error; you are rejecting a true null hypothesis). People are more likely to attribute an adverse health event to a shot- even if that shot is the placebo and the numbers are just the background rate for whatever health event in the population.
And here is a graph showing the sample sizes necessary to prove that an adverse event is caused or related to a vaccine.
You know what, it was a really good lecture and I’m going to share more more relevant slides in case any one else feels like contradicting me.
These slides show the public health impact of vaccines. Note the differences between the historical peak and post-vaccine era deaths columns. Because saving literally thousands of lives is totally a conspiracy you should beware of.
And this is why herd immunity is so important! See how high it has to be for measles? Guess what we’re seeing outbreaks of thanks to anti-vaxxers? Don’t forget that one of the deadly complications of measles is SSPE.
Look how Hepatitis A infections in older adults when down after kids started getting immunized. Shocking! Could vaccines be… good for …. everyone????
Some claim that evolution is just a theory, as if it were merely an opinion.
NASA’s recent discovery of Kepler-186f, the first habitable Earth-sized planet is big news in humankind’s long search for extraterrestrial life.
A universe full of exoplanets: Thanks to the Kepler Space Telescope, which was launched in 2009 to hunt planets across the universe, we’ve managed to find around 1800 exoplanets so far, many of which have been discovered in just the last year or so.
A young man lies unconscious on the table, his head clamped firmly in place. His eyes are closed. The hair over his left temple has been shaved.
Continue reading: How a surgeon installs seizure sensors inside a skull
(Image courtesy: University of Utah, Department of Neurosurgery)
TONY STARK DOES SCIENCE
Scientists have for the first time synthesized a chromosome of a eukaryotic cell (in this case, a yeast).
A genetic sequence was designed on a computer, then pieced together and integrated into a living yeast cell to create a semi-artificial life-form.
Infographic by Karl Tate. Source: LiveScience
Pusheen the cat making some chemistry.
That cat is not wearing safety goggles, he hasn’t even bothered to clean up that spilled solvent, and he is holding that Erlenmeyer flask way to close to his face.
Pusheen the Cat, more like Pusheen the limits of lab safety
Some might know Nichelle Nichols best from Star Trek, but this actress, singer, dancer and space advocate has much to say beyond her role in TV’s exploration of the final frontier. In this exclusive interview, she talks about how science fiction and Star Trek—and specifically her ground-breaking role as Chief Communications Officer Lt. Uhura—not only impacted her life, but also had an influence on society over space and time.
This is a really wonderful interview. She sings “Beyond Antares” (she still has a totally amazing voice btw) and discusses how she got onto Star Trek and her decision to stay on the show.
A dozen brain regions, working together, create feelings of passionate love. Stephanie Ortigue of Syracuse University and her colleagues worldwide compared MRI studies of people who indicated they were either in love or were experiencing maternal or unconditional love. The comparison revealed a “passion network”—the red regions shown here at various angles. The network releases neurotransmitters and other chemicals in the brain and blood that create the sensations of attraction, arousal, pleasure…and obsession. (via Passionate Love in the Brain, as Revealed by MRI Scans [Web Exclusive Graphic]: Scientific American)
Impulsive–compulsive disorders such as pathological gambling, hypersexuality, compulsive eating, and shopping are side effects of the dopaminergic therapy for Parkinson’s disease. With a lower prevalence, these disorders also appear in the general population. Research in the last few years has discovered that these pathological behaviors share features similar to those of substance use disorders (SUD), which has led to the term “behavioral addictions”. As in SUDs, the behaviors are marked by a compulsive drive toward and impaired control over the behavior. Furthermore, animal and medication studies, research in the Parkinson’s disease population, and neuroimaging findings indicate a common neurobiology of addictive behaviors.
If you have to take medication for a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, and as a result experience decreased impulse control, what determines the amount of blameworthiness when you steal, cheat or kill?
According to a recent study done by doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, high school athletes who play collision sports at higher altitudes are less likely to suffer from concussions than those who play at lower altitudes.
The doctors who were involved in the study recognized that prior research indicated that the volume and/or pressure of intracranial fluid, which acts as a cushion to protect the brain inside of the skull, is affected by one’s altitude and that it may be associated with the likelihood and/or severity of a concussion.
When concussion rates were examined relative to altitude, sequential elevations in altitude above sea level were associated with a reduction in concussion rates overall. Specifically, high school sports played at higher altitudes demonstrated a 31 percent reduction in the incidence of total reported concussions.
Interesting. I feel like this is more of a mediating factor than a contributing factor….
I have to ask about the comparative weights and training of these higher altitude students? Also, is there maybe a cultural difference? could football be less important to these groups, and therefore they don’t play/hit as hard? are there any outliers? is reporting as common in those areas? very interesting though…high biological probability.
Tomorrow (Saturday) is the birthday of Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev - the man whose ground-breaking work led to the creation of the modern periodic table of elements.
Here’s a fun look at his contributions from Lou Serico and TED-Ed:
This unbiased video on fracking gives you all the information you need to know about the oil extraction process.
unbiased is a bit handed of a word to use. but I think it brings up very important issues and gives a general idea of what’s going on. all in all we have to come up with new renewable forms of energy.