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About Mental Health

Genetics play an important role in shaping an individual’s risk of schizophrenia, but environmental factors—especially those encountered before birth—may be just as important. New research reported May 28 in the journal Nature Medicine reveals how genetic variants that, on their own, increase schizophrenia risk only slightly, can leave a child’s developing brain more vulnerable to stresses during the mother’s pregnancy, under certain environmental circumstances.

The study was led by Scientific Council member Daniel R. Weinberger, M.D., a 2000 and 1990 Distinguished Investigator and 1993 Lieber Prizewinner at Johns Hopkins University. The research team also included Karen Faith Berman, M.D., Scientific Council member, 2014 Distinguished Investigator and a 2000 Independent Investigator; Giuseppe Blasi, M.D., a 2007 Young Investigator; Dan Rujescu, M.D., Ph.D., a 2006 Independent Investigator; and Alessandro Bertolino, M.D., Ph.D., a 2013 Independent Investigator and 1999 Young Investigator.