Animal Models of Schizophrenia?

Professor David Lewis explains that although many symptoms of schizophrenia are not reproducible in animals, animal models can help understand the disorder.

The study of schizophrenia is very difficult because it seems to be a disease that is unique to humans. Of course, when you think about the symptoms, delusions and hallucinations, it makes sense that animals that lack thought and speech would not manifest those. Our studies of schizophrenia, of course, depend upon the ability to study individuals with the illness, whether that be through imaging studies, where we can visualize the living brain in action, or through postmortem studies, by examining the brains of individuals who died with the illness and whose family members have generously donated their brain for study. But there are substantial limitations to how much we can learn from the direct study of the human brain because, of course, there are limits to how much we can control the study conditions. So a major area of importance in the study of the illness is the use of animal model systems, not where we have reproduced in animals the illness of schizophrenia, but where we have reproduced in animals some component of the disturbances in the brain that are present in individuals with the illness so that we can learn how those various disturbances relate to each another, and how medications that we might want to try in humans actually affect these changes that have been induced in the brains of animals.

schizophrenia, animal, model, system, organism, human, brain, gene, symptom, delusion, hallucination, david, lewis,

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