An international team of researchers has found that a combination of a particular virus in the mother and a specific gene variant in the child increases the risk of the child developing schizophrenia.
The research team, led by scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark, scanned the entire genome of hundreds of people to see if there is an interaction between genes and a common virus — cytomegalovirus. They then found that the interaction ups the risk of developing schizophrenia.
According to the researchers, women who have been infected by the virus — and around 70 percent have — have a statistically significant increased risk of giving birth to a child who develops schizophrenia if the child also has the gene variant.
The risk is five times higher than usual, according to the researchers, who reported on their results in the journal, Molecular Psychiatry.