What you’re looking at are neurons grown from a schizophrenic person. An incredible study, published today in Nature, reveals how scientists grew schizophrenic brain cells to understand the inner workings of this still-mysterious neurological disorder.
A team of scientists from research institutes across the US collaborated to conduct this first-of-a-kind experiment. Schizophrenia is known to be an inherited, genetic disease in the majority of cases, and the researchers drew their samples from the skin of four people with clearly inherited schizophrenia. Three were from families where one parent and all their siblings were also schizophrenic, and one had been diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of six. Then they then “reprogrammed” these cells to become stem cells, then neurons, creating small colonies of cells whose genetic profile exactly matches schizophrenic neurons.
Find out what they discovered over at io9.