GHP Q4 2018

GHP / Q4 2018 5 NEWS , New research from Sheppard Pratt Health System, per- formed in collabora- tion with research- ers at Johns Hopkins and the Broad Institute, shows that individuals with schizophre- nia have increased levels of antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a human herpes- virus that is the cause of infec- tious mononucleosis. EBV can also infect the central nervous system and cause persistent infection. While schizophrenia has some genetic associations, genes that have been found to date explain only a portion of the disease risk. Environmental exposures, includ- ing to some infectious agents, have also been identified in previ- ous studies as increasing the risk for schizophrenia. Researchers at Sheppard Pratt conducted a study consisting of 743 individuals—432 with a schiz- ophrenia diagnosis and 311 with- out a history of a psychiatric dis- order to serve as a control group. The individuals with schizophre- nia had more than 3.5-fold odds of having increased levels of some EBV antibodies as compared to the controls. Individuals who also had both evidence of increased genetic risk and increased levels of antibodies to some EBV pro- teins had more than 8-fold odds of being in the schizophrenia group as compared to controls. On the other hand, the individuals with schizophrenia did not have an increase of antibodies to related viruses. “Our study is promising as we look at other potential explana- tions and factors for the increased risk of developing schizophrenia beyond genetics,” said Dr. Faith Dickerson, a clinical psychologist at Sheppard Pratt and lead re- searcher on this study. “By further studying and understanding the role of EBV infection, there is an opportunity to develop new meth- ods for the prevention and treat- ment of schizophrenia.” The transmission of EBV may be prevented by hygienic tech- niques. In addition, vaccines for Wo r l d - r enowned cartographer of the brain, Scientia Pro- fessor George Pax- inos AO, from Neu- roscience Research Australia (NeuRA) has announced the discovery of a hidden region of the human brain. The region is found near the brain-spinal cord junction and Professor Paxinos has named it the Endorestiform Nucleus. Professor Paxinos suspected the existence of the Endorestiform Nucleus 30 years ago but has only now been able to see it due to better staining and imaging techniques. Commenting on this discovery, Professor Paxinos says it can be likened to finding a new star. “The region is intriguing because it is absent in monkeys and other animals that we have studied,” said Professor Paxinos, adding, “this region could be what makes humans unique besides our larger brain size.” The Endorestiform Nucleus is lo- cated within the inferior cerebellar peduncle, an area that integrates sensory and motor information to refine our posture, balance and fine motor movements. “I can only guess as to its func- tion but given the part of the brain where it has been found, it might be involved in fine motor control,” says Professor Paxinos. Neuroscientist Discovers Hidden Region of Human Brain The discovery of the region may help researchers explore cures for diseases including Parkinson’s disease and motor neuron dis- ease. Neuroscientists researching neu- rological or psychiatric diseases use Professor Paxinos’ maps to guide their work. Professor Pax- inos’ brain atlases are heralded as the most accurate for the identifi- cation of brain structures and are also used in neurosurgery. An increasingly detailed under- standing of the architecture and connectivity of the nervous system has been central to most major discoveries in neuroscience in the past 100 years. Professor Paxinos is the author of the most cited publication in neu- roscience and another 52 books of highly detailed maps of the brain. The maps chart the course for neurosurgery and neuroscience research, enabling exploration, discovery and the development of treatments for diseases and disor- ders of the brain. The discovery of the Endoresti- form Nucleus, is detailed in Pro- fessor Paxinos latest book titled Human Brainstem: Cytoarchitec- ture, Chemoarchitecture, Myeloar- chitecture (https://www.elsevier . com/books/human-brainstem/pax- inos/978-0-12-814184-7) availa- ble for order this November, 2018. the prevention of EBV and new methods of treatment are under investigation. The study was conducted by The Stanley Research Program at Sheppard Pratt; the Stanley Neurovirology Laboratory, De- partment of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Van- Pelt Biosciences; and the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Broad Institute of MIT and Har- vard. The article was published online on November 20 in the Oxford Press Journal Schizophrenia Bulletin (Schizophrenia Bulletin, sby164, schbul/sby164). About Sheppard Pratt Health System Sheppard Pratt Health System is the largest private, nonprofit provider of mental health, sub- stance use, developmental dis- ability, special education, and social services in the country. A nationwide resource, Sheppard Pratt provides services across a comprehensive continuum of care, spanning both hospital- and community-based resources. Since its founding in 1853, Shep- pard Pratt has been innovating the field through research, best practice implementation, and a focus on improving the quality of mental health care on a global level. Sheppard Pratt has been consistently ranked as a top na- tional psychiatric hospital by U.S. News & World Report for nearly 30 years.