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Have you been getting enough sleep lately? Researchers at Oxford believe that sleep disorders that exist regardless of any of these external lifestyle factors could suggest a potentially much deeper link between schizophrenia and the brain's sleep centers.

The experts tested this idea by studying mice with defects in their SNAP25 gene, which is linked to schizophrenia in humans. They placed the mice in an environment where twelve hours of light was followed by twelve hours of darkness. Mice with normally functioning SNAP25 genes were active during the artificial daytime while the altered mice showed signs that something was deeply wrong with their suprachiasmatic nucleus, a piece of brain tissue helps the body know when to be active and when to effectively power down.

The researchers discovered the relay links between the SCN and the rest of the body were damaged in the altered mice, and this had caused the internal clocks throughout the rest of the mice's bodies to get wildly out of sync with the brain.

Schizophrenia is among the most damaging and least understood of all mental disorders. With these new findings, it could help provide a crucial key to unraveling the disease.

via New Scientist