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Public Health Implications
- The Genetics of Schizophrenia

The public health importance of schizophrenia is clear, and the rationale for the search for genetic causes is strong. Schizophrenia research has never been easy: the current epoch of investigation into the genetics of schizophrenia provides a set of tantalizing clues, but definitive answers are not yet fully established. Findings from the accumulated literature appear to be more than chance yet sufficiently variable as to render “hard” replication elusive. The currently murky view of this literature may result from the competing filters of Type 1 and Type 2 error. The current literature could be a mix of true and false positive findings; however, it would be a momentous advance for the field if even one of the genes in Table 2 were a true positive result.

This body of work is not yet ready for wholesale translation into clinical practice. However, it is not premature to inform patients that this work is advancing and that it holds promise for new insights into etiology, pathophysiology, and treatment on the five- to ten-year horizon. On a larger scale, the treatment of the mentally ill mirrors the humanity of a society; in many societies, the return image is not flattering. If a specific genetic variation were proven to be causal to schizophrenia, this poor reflection might improve [28].

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