Smoking is an ‘important’ risk factor for schizophrenia – and the more you smoke, the worse it is, say researchers

By Rob Waugh

PUBLISHED: 15:08 EST, 26 March 2012 | UPDATED: 15:08 EST, 26 March 2012

Smoking should be considered an ‘important’ risk factor for schizophrenia, a scientist has claimed.

Professor Boris Quednow, from the University Hospital of Psychiatry in Switzerland, led new research suggesting smoking increases the impact of schizophrenia genes.

Healthy smokers carrying a certain gene variant responded to an ‘acoustic stimuli’ test in the same way as individuals suffering from the serious mental disorder.

The effect also appeared to be stronger the more a person smoked.

The study involved more than 1,800 participants who underwent a simple test which involves listening to a sequence of similar clicks.

Brainwave measurements show that most people suppress other, irrelevant, stimuli while processing the sounds.

However patients with schizophrenia appear to lack this filtering mechanism.

As a result their brains are thought to be inundated with too much information.

Psychiatrically healthy people carrying variants of the gene TCF4 that increased the risk of schizophrenia also displayed poorer acoustic filtering, the study found.

However, smoking appeared to amplify the effect, resulting in greater deficits.

The findings are published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Prof Quednow said: ‘Smoking alters the impact of the TCF4 gene on acoustic stimulus filtering. Therefore, smoking might also increase the impact of particular genes on the risk of schizophrenia.

‘Smoking should… be considered as an important cofactor for the risk of schizophrenia in future studies.’

People with schizophrenia frequently smoke, the researchers pointed out.

A combination of the click test and genetic and smoking data could be used to diagnose schizophrenia more rapidly and define new patient sub-groups, said Dr Quednow.
Read more:


Posted on March 26, 2012, in Health / Medicine, Science / Technology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Bullshit. All I see is that smoking may alter the filtering of meaningless auditory stimuli. Just because people with schizophrenia also have it altered, it does not mean that smoking causes it. What utter nonsense.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: