Neuroanthropology

For a greater understanding of the encultured brain and body…

Glutamate and Schizophrenia

Posted by dlende on February 25, 2008

The NY Times has an article, Daring to Think Differently about Schizophrenia, about research on glutamate, schizophrenia, and drug development.  In addiction research, there is also increasing consideration of the role of glutamate, moving beyond the dopamine-centered models.  Glutamate-targeted drugs “might help to treat the cognitive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Drugs currently on the market do little to treat those symptoms.”  Here are some early quotes from the article:

Dr. Schoepp and other scientists had focused their attention on the way that glutamate, a powerful neurotransmitter, tied together the brain’s most complex circuits. Every other schizophrenia drug now on the market aims at a different neurotransmitter, dopamine.”

“Glutamate is a pivotal transmitter in the brain, the crucial link in circuits involved in memory, learning and perception. Too much glutamate leads to seizures and the death of brain cells. Excessive glutamate release is also one of the main reasons that people have brain damage after strokes. Too little glutamate can cause psychosis, coma and death.  ‘The main thoroughfare of communication in the brain is glutamate,’ says Dr. John Krystal, a psychiatry professor at Yale and a research scientist with the VA Connecticut Health Care System.”

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