|In this image, cell nuclei are shown in |
blue and synapses in red and green.
Credit: Zhexing Wen/Johns Hopkins Medicine
The study, led by Guo-li Ming, M.D., Ph.D., and Hongjun Song, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and described online Aug. 17 in the journal Nature, used stem cells generated from people with and without mental illness to observe the effects of a rare and pernicious genetic variation on young brain cells.
The results add to evidence that several major mental illnesses have common roots in faulty "wiring" during early brain development.
"This was the next best thing to going back in time to see what happened while a person was in the womb to later cause mental illness. We found the most convincing evidence yet that the answer lies in the synapses that connect brain cells to one another." said Ming.