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13 New Risk Loci for Schizophrenia, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 887

Research Paper

The article selected for this assignment is entitled “Genome-wide association analysis identifies 13 new risk loci for schizophrenia” (Ripke et al., 2013). This topic is valuable to mental health nursing because this new understanding of the disease will allow us to develop screening to determine which individuals are genetically predisposed to the illness. Ultimately, this will enable health care professionals to advise patients how to avoid environmental factors that have a high likelihood of triggering the illness and it will provide pharmaceutical companies with an enhanced ability to produce drugs that target either the gene activity or the proteins made by these schizophrenia genes.

It is essential to gain a greater understanding of this illness because individuals who are schizophrenia are often required to be medicated for long periods of time in order to live normal lives. Even so, some of these individuals are unable to do so, and as a consequence must be cared for by family and friends. This is typically a stressful situation for individuals who are close to someone with this disease, and in some cases, these family members refuse to be responsible for them. As a consequence, these patients often find themselves alone, and a high percentage of them are unable to hold regular jobs and are therefore homeless. While less than 1 percent of the population demonstrates these symptoms, it is important to consider that the suicide rate among these individuals is high and that treatments are currently not very effective.

This study was conducted by collecting genetic sample of several hundred patients with schizophrenia in addition to non-schizophrenia controls for a comparative genome analysis. A study of the 13 genes identified revealed that a majority of the genes suspected to play a role in the disease were related to neuronal calcium signaling. One of the genes that was identified is also known to play a role in bipolar disorder, suggesting that these two personality disorders are related in terms of biology.

This information could be utilized for my practice because it demonstrates that we must think of schizophrenia as a genetic illness to a greater extent than an environmental illness. While it is possible that the current therapy and medication provided to these patients will help minimize symptoms, it is helpful to be aware of this study because it supports the belief that these interventions will not cure a patient long-term. As a consequence, we must continue pushing forward to enhance practice to treat these patients by determining ways that we can utilize our genetic understanding of this disease. Furthermore, this article demonstrates that, since there is a genetic component of schizophrenia, it is possible that nurses should begin concerning themselves with determining whether children of schizophrenics have an increased risk of the disease based on their genetic profile. While this is done to an extent in current practice, this study provides additional evidence that demonstrates that it is useful to continue doing so.

The major strength of this article is that it builds upon previous research in a manner that allowed the identification of 13 genes associated with schizophrenia. Since a large sample size was used, there was a lot of data available to the researchers to be able to determine which genes might be related to the illness. However, a disadvantage of this is that many of these genes varied within the experimental populations, so it is currently difficult to be certain that the conclusions drawn by the researchers are correct. Furthermore, a Swedish population was utilized for the study, so if these results are internally valid, then they are only useful for members of this population, as the genetics of people from other ethnicities may differ too significantly. It would therefore be necessary to repeat this study on individuals in more populations to determine if this data is clinically valuable.

Despite some of the shortcomings contained within the article, I would recommend it to colleagues who are interested in the relationship between environmental and genetic factors related to schizophrenia. While the article does not provide information that could be directly applied to nursing practice, it is valuable for individuals who wish to study the genetic link of the disease further in a manner that will allow it to be applied to clinical practice more quickly. Essentially, it would be plausible for my health care institution to run tests to determine if our schizophrenia patients express the genes that have been identified by this study, which could potentially enable the establishment of a clinical trial for pharmaceuticals that work by targeting these genes. Since the goal of the health care facility is to improve patient care, it is helpful to utilize the knowledge of prior research to establish new nursing studies.

In conclusion, this study provides a reasonable means by which a schizophrenia treatment investigationcould be initiated in health care institutions across the world. Because the evidence provided in the article isn’t completely sound, it would be valuable to continue to build upon it. It is likely that an improvement in schizophrenia treatment will not occur in the near future, but this is a goal that every mental health nurse should work towards as a goal in their careers.

References

Ripke S, O’Dushlaine C, Chambert K,Moran JL, Kähler AK, Akterin S. (2013). Genome-wide association analysis identifies 13 new risk loci for schizophrenia. Nature Genetics, 45: 1150-1159.

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