According to recent research, the biggest hurdle to overcome when treating schizophrenia is the lack of effective drugs. Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory are hoping they are closer to solving the dilemma.

Treating schizophrenia, or finding a target, is a bit like a needle in the haystack. It has everything to do with how signals are transported to and throughout different areas of the brain. Sometimes signals are interrupted in transmission.

Researchers are looking at very specific locations in the brain called the prefrontal cortex (PFC), and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Stay with me here. The PFC and mPFC are just behind your forehead. It is where all the higher order thinking occurs when signals are routed correctly. The router in this case is the thalamus. It is thought that communication breakdown between the PFC and the thalamus could be responsible for schizophrenia.

Using optogenetics, researchers were able to impact communication pathways in mice. Armed with this knowledge, researchers may be able to develop therapies that better target miscommunication in the brain.

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