Schizophrenia can be caused by germs in the throat.
Disputes about the causes and causes of schizophrenia do not subside. Scientists are inclined to believe that this mental illness causes a whole combination of factors. Recent studies have shown that bacteria living on the throat mucosa may increase the risk of developing schizophrenia, as well as vitamin deficiency – in particular, a lack of methylated form of vitamin B12.
The cause of schizophrenia is still not fully understood.
There is much debate about the causes of schizophrenia. As possible prerequisites for the development of the disease, scientists call a set of psychological, hereditary and biochemical causes. Recently, doctors have abandoned the idea of establishing the one and only reason for this mental illness and are rather considering a set of factors that make a person more predisposed to it.
Recent studies suggest that vitamin deficiency, as well as bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in the human throat may be responsible for the biochemical component of schizophrenia.
Scientists from George Washington University have found that the composition of the microflora of the throat mucosa in patients with schizophrenia differs markedly from the microbiome of healthy people. Mirkrobiom – a set of viruses, bacteria and fungi that live in the human body or in its individual parts. It has long been known that human microbiomes are very diverse: for some, such a “population” of the body can equal the number of their own cells, and in other people it is 10 times higher than it. Microbiomes differ not only quantitatively, but also qualitatively: in the composition of the living microorganisms.
“The pharynx of patients with schizophrenia contains completely different proportions of bacteria than the mucous membrane of healthy people,” said Eduardo Sastro-Nallar, MD, lead author of the study.
Microorganisms also affect the psyche
Recent studies have increasingly indicated that the combination of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live in the human body affects the immune system and can be associated with mental health. For example, dysbacteriosis of the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines in the first year of life many times increases the risk of autism.
With dysbiosis, an inflammatory process develops and the permeability of the intestinal walls increases. Toxins entering the bloodstream affect the functioning of all body systems, including the brain. According to a similar “toxicological” principle, the connection between schizophrenia and pathogenic bacteria and viruses in the throat can also work.
“To test this hypothesis, more people need to be involved in the research. But the results are very interesting. They offer possible biomarkers for diagnosing schizophrenia and identifying important metabolic pathways associated with the disease,” adds Kate Crandall, co-author of the study.
Vitamin deficiency can also cause schizophrenia.
Another possible factor in the development of schizophrenia is, oddly enough, vitamin deficiency. In January 2016, an international team of scientists published the results of a study in the journal PLOS One, which compared the results of brain tissue analysis of deceased donors. It turned out that the level of the group of cobalt-containing active substances, also called vitamin B12, in the brain of patients with autism and schizophrenia was reduced many times. Also, the level of B12 in brain tissues naturally fell in the elderly.
Vitamin B12 is very important.
In children under 10 years old with autism, the level of B12 was three times lower than the norm for their age – this is approximately the norm for healthy 50-year-olds. In schizophrenics, the level of B12 in the brain was also reduced several times. The trick is that the blood test did not reflect this difference. The difference was revealed only by autopsy and analysis of brain tissue.
Metlicobalamin, or methylated B12, is an active form of vitamin that ensures normal brain development by regulating gene expression. It is noteworthy that in healthy elderly people, B12 level decreased by about 10 times compared with the brain of healthy young people. A decrease in the normal level of B12 in the brain negatively affects the development of the nervous system in childhood and in the future can adversely affect memory and learning ability.
Autism and schizophrenia are also associated with so-called oxidative stress, that is, the process of cell damage due to oxidation. Scientists suggest that oxidative stress can affect the decrease in normal B12 levels observed in this study. If the data of this work are confirmed by further study, it is quite possible that doctors will soon use vitamin B12 and antioxidants such as glutathione to treat schizophrenia and childhood autism.