People suffering from permanent stress are more likely to develop schizophrenia, a new study by Astrid Friebe from Ruhr University Bochum in Germany suggests. According to Friebe, permanent stress can cause changes in the brain by activating immune cells, leading to brain disorders like schizophrenia.
The study was mainly focused on microglia, a type of phagocytes. Phagocytes are large white cells similar to suicide bags that can swallow and digest the entire microbe and other foreign particles. Usually, microglia primarily repairs damaged gaps between nerves cells in the brain. However, in destructive mode it might damage nerve cells and cause inflammation in the brain, the study suggests.
Stress triggers microglia more frequently, the more it gets triggered frequently, more are the chances of microglia damaging brain and causing diseases like schizophrenia instead of doing its regular job of repairing the nerve cell spacing in the brain.
“The embryo undergoes some kind of immune response which has far-reaching consequences and presumably shapes the future immune system,” said Astrid Friebe from Ruhr University Bochum in Germany.
However, the finding was not consistent, not every person suffering from permanent stress developed mental disorders like schizophrenia, said Friebe
In an another study, researchers of US found that children born in children belonging to mothers of 1950s who were infected with influenza in their pregnancy were at least seven times more prone to schizophrenia at any moment of life.
The findings of the study are published in the science magazine Rubin.