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MIT Engineers World's First Schizophrenic Mice

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the beautiful-little-minds dept.

Biotech 159

Frosty Piss writes "MIT researchers have created a schizophrenic mouse that pinpoints a gene variation predisposing people to schizophrenia. Research with the mouse may lead to the first genetically targeted drugs for the disease, which affects 1 percent of the population worldwide. This is the first study that uses animals who demonstrate an array of symptoms observed in schizophrenic patients to identify specific genes that predispose people to the disease."

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159 comments

Wrong. (5, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055509)

Pinky (or was it the Brain?) was the first schizophrenic mouse.

Re:Wrong. (0)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055657)

One is a genius... the other's insane...

Re:Wrong. (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055793)

They're laboratory mice....

Re:Wrong. (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055973)

Their genes have been spliced...

Re:Wrong. (4, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055717)

There are just SO many joke opportunities about schizophrenic mice racing through my mind that I seem to be unable to filter out one specifically.

But Brain (2, Funny)

wiredog (43288) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056463)

Where are we going to find a hippo, 5 gallons of grease, and a tutu, at this time of night?

Re:Wrong. (0, Troll)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056513)

There has to be a joke about the US government in here somewhere...

Re:Wrong. (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056793)

It was definitely Brain. Pinky was all in his head . . .

Re:Wrong. (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056905)

You're not thinking of Dissociative Identity Disorder [wikipedia.org] are you? Schizophrenia [wikipedia.org] is when your perceptions are impaired, and you may start hearing voices among other things.

This may be a really ignorant question, but... (5, Interesting)

blcamp (211756) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055515)

...exactly how would a human *know* if a mouse is schizophrenic?

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (5, Funny)

sveard (1076275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055553)

The mouse was seen using an axe hacking through a mouse sized door, shouting .. "Here's Pinky!"

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (4, Informative)

packetmon (977047) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055559)

By deleting a single gene in a small portion of the brains of mice, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center found that the animals were affected in a way resembling schizophrenia in humans.

After the gene was removed, the animals, which had been trained to use external cues to look for chocolate treats buried in sand, couldn't learn a similar task, the researchers report in a paper appearing in today's issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Dr. Robert Greene, professor of psychiatry, and his colleagues have found that eliminating a gene in a mouse's brain creates memory problems that are reminiscent of schizophrenia. T he researchers deleted the gene, which codes for a part of a protein involved in passing signals between nerve cells needed for learning and memory. When a similar protein is blocked by drugs in humans, it leads to a psychotic state similar to schizophrenia.

ORIGINAL [medicalnewstoday.com]
Technically, MIT wasn't first:
Schizophrenia - Mice With Defective Memory May Hold Clues
Main Category: Schizophrenia News
Article Date: 23 Jan 2006 - 21:00 PDT

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055599)

So...basically they did a genetic lobotomy on the poor little squeekers! Damn, I better stay away from the MIT and UT Southwestern campuses!!

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

joseph449008 (1121209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057693)

The key symptoms of schizophrenia are hallucinations, delusions and disorganized speech. I really don't see how they modeled this in mice. I believe the MIT researchers are overstating their case.

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20058047)

Perhaps the problem here is that the researchers are having delusions of creating delusional mice.

Doesn't sound similar to me (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057799)

Hmm... you know, that doesn't actually sound similar at all to me. What they said there, basically, is that they made the mice stupid. Maybe there's some other stuff at work, but not being able to learn any more looks the closest to genuine stupidity.

That's not at all similar to schizophrenia in humans. A lot of schizophrenic humans are actually highly intelligent, and perfectly able to both lean and do (more than) simple associations. Their brain does work wrong, to different degrees and with a very broad spectrum of possible symptoms (there are at least 5 fundamentally different _categories_ of schizophrenia), but not in the same way as being retarded.

The most easy to understand kind of schizophrenia, the paranoid schizophrenia kind, isn't being unable-to-learn or unable-to-associate stupid, but, according to at least one explanation, having a very fuzzy line between fantasy and reality. (In various ways and to various degrees.) They're people who otherwise are perfectly capable of logical thought and learning, but some of their input data is their own delusions, or is slightly distorted by those delusions. It can range from just slight sensory delusions, to outright seeing and hearing things that actually originated in their own minds, mixed with the real input. While you might, for example, imagine a ghost in your head or think what you'd like to tell the boss, for a really bad case of paranoid schizophrenia it might get registered as stuff that actually happened, or which _is_ currently happening, mixed with the stuff actually happening around. They might actually see that ghost in the (otherwise real) room or get the impression that that boss is communicating with him telepathically.

Of course, that's really really bad cases that end up in the loonie bin or shooting up an university dorm. Most people included in that 1% figure are a lot more slightly affected, and can function normally.

In a sense, paranoid schizophrenia is a case of "garbage in, garbage out". The mental capacity for logic and learning is there, but some of the input is corrupted. The illogical behaviour you see on the outside isn't usually stupidity, it's just the result of applying good logic on bad input data.

So basically, I'm sure they probably base their theory more on the protein similarities than on those symptoms. Because those symptoms don't sound like schizophrenia at all.

Re:Doesn't sound similar to me (1)

Mc1brew (1135437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20058009)

Sometimes I think I hear my cell phone ringing, but it isn't. AHHH!!!

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (5, Informative)

SomeDanGuy (1070108) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055565)

Not a bad question. This article title is actually misleading - this is NOT the first model of a 'schizophrenic mouse'; it is the first one to identify a specific gene involved.
Animal models of these complex psychiatric diseases are always a bit questionable. This one seems to have bad memory formation, attention problems, and poor social skills. The researchers believe that's enough to call it a model of schizophrenia, but that's very difficult to say for sure.

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (4, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055933)

Animal models of these complex psychiatric diseases are always a bit questionable. This one seems to have bad memory formation, attention problems, and poor social skills. The researchers believe that's enough to call it a model of schizophrenia, but that's very difficult to say for sure.


Right. These are just 'schizotypical' symptomps. Many other disorders feature schizotypical behaviour, including several developmental disorders, such as multiple-complex developmental disorder [google.com] and other disorders like shizotypical personality disorder [psyonline.nl] , which feature schizotypical behaviour but are not true schizophrenia. I suspect that these mice have more of the latter disorders (which are thought to be genetic) rather than actual schizophrenia (which may or may not be genetic).

Still useful (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056279)

These are just 'schizotypical' symptomps. Many other disorders feature schizotypical behaviour, including several developmental disorders, such as multiple-complex developmental disorder [google.com] and other disorders like shizotypical personality disorder [psyonline.nl] , which feature schizotypical behaviour but are not true schizophrenia.

But if results from these mice lead to a treatment for even one type of schizotypia in humans, that's still a leap forward for psychiatry nonetheless.

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056397)

rather than actual schizophrenia (which may or may not be genetic).
Actually twin studies indicate schizophrenia has a heritability factor of perhaps 80% (Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] ).

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (3, Funny)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056127)

This one seems to have bad memory formation, attention problems, and poor social skills.

Wait. Are we talking about a mouse, or a guy with an iPhone at Starbucks?

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056453)

So, I'm curious, what's the difference between being schizophrenic (or otherwise having some recongized mental illness), and just "being a dick"?

(I mean, *other* than that the latter posts on /. with the name "UbuntuDupe".)

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056641)

So, I'm curious, what's the difference between being schizophrenic (or otherwise having some recongized mental illness), and just "being a dick"?

The latter group haven't been diagnosed yet?

But seriously, it's not just about changes in personality. One guy I knew heard voices. From what I've read and heard (radio, not voices), when schizophrenics hear voices telling them to do something, it's more powerful than anything real. I guess you could say that their brain hardware has been hacked.

Sooo, I guess we can make jokes like the one I want to make, "Who needs schizophrenic mice?", but if they can help people like my friend, I think it's a good thing.

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056673)

Well, if they know that the mice are hearing voices, I'm more interested in the technology they used to access their consciousness and read their qualia, than in mental health treatment...

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057587)

Well, if they know that the mice are hearing voices, I'm more interested in the technology they used to access their consciousness and read their qualia, than in mental health treatment...

Perhaps they're hearing squeaks? And the researchers observe that the schizophrenic mice will suddenly stop, listen, and then rush off to build a model of the Devil's Tower out of cheese.

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (0, Offtopic)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057913)

I had a roommate who was a paranoid schizophrenic model. No lie, one time she said, "Do I look pretty? Stop looking at me!" Another time the electricity went out in the middle of the night. She shrieked like a banshee and came running into me and my girlfriend's room. Normally when a hot model comes running into your room in the middle of the night wanting to sleep with you because she's scared, that's a cause for celebration. Not this time.

So there's your rough rule of thumb. If a totally hot chick is just being a bitch, most folks would still sleep with her if given the opportunity. If the idea of sleeping with her gives you the heebie-jeebies then chances are she's not just being a bitch, she's fucking nuts.

It's just upset (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055669)

I...exactly how would a human *know* if a mouse is schizophrenic?


Agreed.

For one thing, it may be just upset that someone messed with its DNA ;)

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20055711)

He killed the other mice for making sense I heard.

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055731)

...exactly how would a human *know* if a mouse is schizophrenic? Simple. If it plays pool against itself, talks to invisible friends and hangs its cage full of clippings of newspapers and magazines and delivers an envelope full of them to a drop box once in a while, it's schizophrenic.

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056445)

Alternatively, if the mouse is called Algernon...

easy (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055753)

does the mouse have a secret stash of lots of old newspapers with scribbled details showing how secret messages are encoded in them? does the mouse have an invisible friend? does the mouse show a novel grasp of game theory and in fact has a nobel prize for the study of game theory? is the mouse married to jennifer connolly?

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

Xemu (50595) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055789)

...exactly how would a human *know* if a mouse is schizophrenic?

The mouse keeps talking to itself and is having paranoid thoughts about "people are out to get him". But the real give away is when the mouse believes it is a researcher in control of a giant computer called "Earth".

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20057145)

> > ...exactly how would a human *know* if a mouse is schizophrenic?
>
> The mouse keeps talking to itself and is having paranoid thoughts about "people are out to get him". But the real give away is when the mouse believes it is a researcher in control of a giant computer called "Earth".

YES! You and I shall manipulate this humble British author, whispering funny ideas into his mind while he sleeps, so that he may teach these millions of geeks - who are destined to be the future technology leaders of the world - that mice, not men, rule! After thirty years, six books, multiple recordings of the radio series, a television series, and a full-length feature film, we shall reveal ourselves, and the world shall be ours!

(But Brain, won't they just think that Benji and Frankie are schizophrenic?)

Silence, Pinky, or I shall have to have you diced.

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20056057)

There may be some more schizophrenic animal activist wanting to sue them for abusing these mice,
These activist kooks may contend: Their rights have been violated they may have been destined for a mouse trap and now they lost that opportunity
  also the black mice have been harmed more than white mice they may also contend .

I contend that white mice get preferred treatment ,
Why don't researchers employ more Black mice or offer them social programs such as remedial maze solution training ?

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056149)

There are different types of the disease. Catatonic for instance is where the individual does not move (or does not move much).

The disease is not always your movie split personality.

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

Domo-Sun (585730) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056617)

exactly how would a human *know* if a mouse is schizophrenic?

It's simple really. If it believes in Jesus, questions evolution, and has a conspiracy theorist right winged talk radio show.

They walk around muttering about... (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056729)

space aliens and cover their heads with tin foil hats.

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

mcostas (973159) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056935)

That's the golden question. As you might imagine, modeling a complex human disease like this in a mouse is a terribly coarse approximation. We can't even diagnose schizophrenia in a human without talking to them. This is of course why we constantly read about scientists finding cures for everything from cancer to depression in mice, and then nothing ever comes of it to address human issues. Human cures are almost always exclusively found from human studies. Animal studies are performed because they are easy, not because they are useful.

by its "mooing" (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056961)

It thought it was a cow.

Re:This may be a really ignorant question, but... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20058155)

Easy. They compare the mice with the behavior of MBA students.

and how do you diagnose this? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20055533)

im too lazy to go digging around the article, but diagnosing schizophrenia in a human being ... ok.

actually they dont even know how to diagnose it exactly.

"People diagnosed with schizophrenia usually experience a combination of positive (i.e. hallucinations, delusions, racing thoughts), negative (i.e. apathy, lack of emotion, poor or nonexistant social functioning), and cognitive (disorganized thoughts, difficulty concentrating and/or following instructions, difficulty completing tasks, memory problems). "

http://www.schizophrenia.com/diag.php#diagnosis [schizophrenia.com]

now, how do you find out if a mouse has those problems?

besides, only a psychiatrist can diagnose schizophrenia, which we learned yesterday from slashdot posters, is just another 'left wing conspiracy' major, an evil liberal arts degree, when what this country really needs is more engineers blah blah blah etc etc etc.

But is it left handed? (1)

jonoton (804262) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055539)

Re:But is it left handed? (2, Funny)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055639)

Doesn't really matter - you can swap the button mappings in the driver settings.

Re:But is it left handed? (1)

kingtonm (208158) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055755)

bugger, beat me to it.

Yes, mod me into oblivion

WTF - old news from 2003 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20055549)

Is it the mice or the editors with the schizophrenia - this is hardly new if the press release is that old!

Get the patent quick! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20055583)

Before some jerkweed lawyer gets it.

Oblig. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20055591)

My grandfather is a left-handed schizophrenic mouse, you insensitive clod!

Re:Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20055897)

Any relation to Farfour [wikipedia.org] ?

Four years later... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20055623)

Article is dated June 30, 2003. Good to see that we are keeping up with the times.

Anyone else read the title wrong? (1, Funny)

jbreckman (917963) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055629)

I read it as "Some group of MIT Engineers are the world's first schizophrenic mice"

The actual article is interesting, but not NEARLY as interesting as it could have been.

(it is early still)

Re:Anyone else read the title wrong? (1)

Gryle (933382) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056217)

Cue the Hitchhiker's jokes.

Re: MIT Engineers World's First Schizophrenic Mice (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20055641)

Great. Now I know why MIT engineers smell bad.

(Either that, or the mice think they're engineers.)

Is this even ethical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20055649)

I thought genetic engineering's creedo was never to cause suffering? I know this is all nobel prize winning stuff and all but how did they get this past an ethics comitee (or did bio engineers find the things too pesky an troublesome)? Is this considered to be humane? Biologically engineering an animal to become psychotic in my book is not simply cruel, its inhuman. But hey, who am I to judge, the end justifies the means...... right?

Re:Is this even ethical? (1)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055713)

This is nothing new. My dad worked his life (up here in Canada) as a medical physicist researcher, studying cancer treatment. It was common for them to give cancer to rats, pigs, and dogs and then try to treat them to evaluate the efficacy and safety of new and existing techniques for curing it. We purposefully overdose animals on food additives to test their safety within humans and administer large quantities of drugs to them to determine addictive potential and an approximation of human LD50.

Whether I agree with the approach or not is a different story. (Honestly, I really don't know.)

Re:Is this even ethical? (1)

kypper (446750) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056365)

While all of this is true, remember that the animals are typically sacrificed at the first sign of suffering. The initial tumours are grown and treatment is attempted (or if they are observing the effects of a gene, the tumour is measured), then the animal is sacrificed if there is noticeable discomfort.

Re:Is this even ethical? (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056681)

This is true. My research group is doing this right now with brain tumors. As soon as (a) we have enough data (which usually involves testing treatments on the condition) and (b) the mouse begins to manifest intractable symptoms of the tumor or resulting mass effect, the mouse is killed quickly and (hopefully) painlessly.

Unfortunately, they also kill the mice after the experiment if treatment is successful. I don't see the need for this except to free up cages, and I am a bit surprised they don't want to continue studying the health of the mice over a longer term to see whether the treatment has adverse long-term effects or the tumors recur.

In other respects, the mice are treated quite well: they are given ample room to run around, their cages are well-kept, and there are lab staff dedicated to making sure the mice are regularly fed and watered. The researchers chosen to supervise the mice are specifically chosen for their empathy to further ensure that the animals aren't being mistreated.

...Not that all this changes the fact that we are doing horrible things to innocent animals in the name of science, but at least we are trying to minimize the amount of damage we need to do to get results that may save lives in the future.

Re:Is this even ethical? (1)

ghostunit (868434) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056123)

According to our history as a species, we have no trouble being cruel or sacrificing others when our interests, however essential or triffling, are on the line. You really think we were going to treat animals any better?

Re:Is this even ethical? (1)

Nitrous999 (1135371) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056313)

I totally agree with you and tbh hate the fact that testing on animals occurs personally i always felt testing these things on prisoners would be far more effective and probably a benfit to society imo

Re:Is this even ethical? (1)

Mab_Mass (903149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057303)

I totally agree with you and tbh hate the fact that testing on animals occurs personally i always felt testing these things on prisoners would be far more effective and probably a benfit to society imo

I really, really hope that you are joking.

Although human models would certainly be more relevant, the ethics here are a total loss. Such a thing would clearly fall into the category of "cruel and unusual punishment," even if we assume that all of the people that are in prison are guilty. Throw into the mix the fact that a number of people in prison don't deserve to be there, and you have a moral nightmare.

Meanwhile, I suggest that you read more about the guidelines for how animals must be treated in laboratory experiments. I assure you (as someone who has worked in science (although never personally with animals)), that the guidelines for the care and treatment of animals is very strict and tightly controlled. Any experiment that doesn't adhere to the guidelines is very quickly stripped of funding. Hell, you can't even get funding unless you provide proof that you know and will follow the guidelines for use of lab animals.

If you really want to reduce animal suffering, look at the meat and agricultural industries. Far crueler things are done to animals every day in the interest of putting meat on your plate than are ever done in a laboratory.

Re:Is this even ethical? (1)

cin62 (1050660) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056615)

I think the reasoning goes along the lines of "the greater good". Provided such genetic changes offer some hope for treatment of humans (even if the mouse suffers) everything is fine.
Sadly, often animal models are not appropriate for human diseases. Eg, you break the same gene as in human but the animal does not have any symptoms of the disease.

Re:Is this even ethical? (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057423)

Oooh, then you reeeeeally don't want to see the addiction studies with cocaine feeds going directly into monkeys' brains... Actually, you also probably don't want to see what happens in most factory farms. Aside from some memory problems, these mice probably live quite a cushy life, for a mouse, and will probably die a quick and painless death. And because of them, hopefully life will get better for millions of people.

Re:Is this even ethical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20057965)

This is not the same as testing cosmetics or vanity drugs. This isn't even like factory farms to make your chicken breast dinner. I would torture a billion mice to relieve the suffering of one schizophrenic. Doing everything possible to treat diseases like schizophrenia is humane, and anything less is inhumane.

Most incurable diseases that cause great suffering eventually kill the victim. With schizophrenia, the victim suffers for the rest of their natural life. If they're lucky, it can be mitigated with antipsychotics. Of course, the only thing worse than taking these toxic drugs is the disease itself.

Whoa....check this out!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20055667)

Get her to add you as a friend.....you get to see milfy bewbs!!!!

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=us er.viewprofile&friendID=108370887 [myspace.com]

It worked for me, Donny Most!@!!!~`~!

Re:Whoa....check this out!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20056317)

Get her to add you as a friend.....you get to see milfy bewbs!!!!
Pfft.... that's nothing. Check out this Booby chick! [wikipedia.org]

Nothing like a great pair of tits [mutineersmcc.org.uk] , eh lads?

I'm conflicted (3, Insightful)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055695)

I'm all for animal testing and all. I'm no animal rights advocate by a long shot; but intentionally giving mice schizophrenia seems a bit wrong to me. Schizophrenia runs in my family and I want to see a cure as much as anyone else. Therein lies the conflict. I suppose the mouse gets it if the experiment can do some good.

Re:I'm conflicted (5, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056541)

Schizophrenia runs in my family

That's a tough one. I think it would be worth trading a lot of mice for a cure.

In the meantime it might be helpful to bring attention to the absolutely abysmal state of mental health care in this country. Something you won't know about unless you or a close relative has a serious mental illness. Half the people you see living on the street are there because they have mental illness and can't navigate the byzantine legal process to get disability benefits. Apparently the right wing thinks they're faking so they not work and drink all day. Even if they could stop trying to self-medicate with alcohol, most wouldn't be able to manage a checkbook even if they could get through the process and there's nowhere for them to go. Your options around here are the crisis line, which is useless, or primary care (the mental hospital). If they don't have health insurance they'll get a T&R (treat and release) and that's how they end up on park benches.

Most states have closed their assisted living centers and state mental hospitals because of cutbacks in federal funding. Where to you think those people go? They usually get lumped in with people with AIDS and criminals. Great atmosphere for recovery. The druggies steal their meds and they're right back to having street lights sending them messages from the mother ship. It varies. Some states are better than others, but overall mental health care in the US, if you don't have health insurance, sucks ass. That doesn't get much attention, but let them leave "In God We Trust" off a dollar coin and people are all up about that. Hypocrites.

Re:I'm conflicted (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056993)

I agree 100%. The mental health care system (or lack thereof) treats people with mental illnesses as if it's their fault that they're ill. Kinda like the druggies and the AIDS patients.

Re:I'm conflicted (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057341)

I think that most are not on "disability" benefits, but rather they are on social security benefits as strange as that may sound. I have personal experience in the "system" treating such people (I was not the one getting the treatment but a friend). It's a nightmare in itself. The trial and error cocktails of drugs that my friend goes through over and over really sucks. I don't think she will ever be better, but she is really taken care of pretty well as far as having basic needs.. housing, food, medicine etc..

Re:I'm conflicted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20056707)

You're conflicted, huh? Say, isn't ambivalence a sign of schizophrenia? And you say it runs in your family too, eh? I'm not saying anything, but you should really have a talk with the mouse doctor.

Re:I'm conflicted (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057829)

Troll and insensitive clod!

Re:I'm conflicted (2, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057773)

Well, I am an animal rights advocate, of the mild sort; I believe animals have rights, and we should respect those rights. OTOH, I also really like meat. And as far as this type of testing goes, IMO it's entirely a Good Thing.

There are well-established standards for the treatment of laboratory animals. Any institution that runs an animal lab is supposed to meet rigorous standards for living space, quality of food, cleanliness, etc., and have a veterinarian on staff (or at least on call) to look after the animals' well-being. They also need to take careful measures to avoid inflicting pain on the animals whenever possible. Now, I'm not saying that all labs live up to this, by a long shot, but I'd be willing to bet that MIT's labs do. And if the standards are followed, then even with the experimentation, the lab animals have much better, longer, healthier lives than their counterparts in the wild. Also, a lot of them end up as pets after their working lives are done; they get to spend their retirement being taken care of, generally very well, by the lab techs who know them best. Honestly, it's not a bad deal.

Re:I'm conflicted (1)

Baba Ram Dass (1033456) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057969)

I'm no animal rights advocate by a long shot; but intentionally giving mice schizophrenia seems a bit wrong to me.
What makes complex psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia possible is the fact that the human mind is complex. We still don't really understand the mind, and we understand its various diseases even less. I'm not at all convinced mice have the biological and psychological requirements for schizophrenia.

Squeak! (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055775)

Squeak, squeak squeak!




[translation: "I'm crazy, and so am I!"]

Re:Squeak! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20056081)

Ah, the first of what will surely be many posts exhibiting the false belief that schizophrenia has something to do with multiple personalities.

Re:Squeak! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20056273)

So yer sayin' a schizophrenic mouse doesn't 'hear squeaks'?



Bah. Nobody likes a spoilsport.

Re:Squeak! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20056427)

Ah, the first of what will surely be many posts exhibiting the false belief that schizophrenia has something to do with multiple personalities.
Should it have said instead: Translation, "I can hear squeaking inside my head"?

Re:Squeak! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20057697)

You are confusing schizophrenia with multiple personalities. There is a huge difference, yet it is a common misconception by ignorant people.

pick your reality (4, Interesting)

Jay Carlson (28733) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055887)

Schizophrenia is hell, and I don't think I'm stretching that much. This is a geek audience, right? Well, let's just consider a world where you can do a scientific experiment and find a result that only you can confirm. Over and over again.

The standard narrative of schizophrenia that we've all internalized is that it's somehow a weakness of an individual. That can't be true, especially if it can be induced.

Re:pick your reality (1)

Domo-Sun (585730) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056469)

How is it less of a weakness if it can be induced? Induced or not, it's still a weakness.

I'm sure they've induced mice to be fat, and being fat is a weakness.

Re:pick your reality (1)

MarcoG42 (1087205) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057689)

I don't think it's a weakness as much as it is a malfunction. That's like saying someone with MS can use will-power to get up and walk around in the latter stages of their disease. My grandmother is paranoid schizophrenic. One day she just snapped. She heard/saw things that weren't there. She thought everyone was plotting against her. An example: She went through an ENTIRE carton of cigarettes in one sitting; She would light one, take a drag, say it tasted funny and repeat for the entire carton. She thought they were all poisoned and that everyone in the house was trying to kill her. She was convinced that my grandfather had a secret account with 100's of thousands of dollars in it that he wasn't telling her about. She would see my younger brother around the place even though he was states away. When your mind is malfunctioning to that degree how can you call it a weakness, and not a disorder?

Re:pick your reality (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056763)

A weakness can be overcome. I don't think Schizophrenia fits that definition. I hope that this will lead to a good treatment or even a cure.

Re:pick your reality (1)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057255)

Who suggested that schizophrenia was some kind of mental weakness? Unlike, say, some of the milder affective disorders, where you might argue that it's a nonpathological variation in behavior, most people with schizophrenia are obviously malfunctioning. This runs the gamut from the ones with predominantly positive symptoms (hallucinations, delusions, aggressive tendencies) to the ones with a more negative/cognitive bias (no motivation, no feelings of pleasure or engagement with the real world).

You don't just will yourself out of real schizophrenia, and anybody suggesting otherwise is ignorant.

Re:pick your reality (1)

greensoap (566467) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057901)

Oh, I think it can still be considered a weakness; just not one that we should fault people for having. There are a lot of things that "can be induced" that we would probably consider a weakness, such as asthma and poor eyesight. Just because it is a medical condition that cannot be controlled does not mean that society cannot regard it as a weakness.

Re:pick your reality (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#20058119)


The standard narrative of schizophrenia that we've all internalized is that it's somehow a weakness of an individual.

I've never heard this narrative, nor of anyone really advocating it until now. Who would really believe that hearing voices would be a "weakness" (i.e. something that could be changed if the person were "strong")? Maybe you're thinking of eating disorders, or gambling or something like that.

A more common bias against someone with schizophrenia is they're scary, dangerous killers. I don't know exactly how true that is, though it's obviously not true for all (or probably a large majority).

Article Headline (1)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 6 years ago | (#20055943)

Please pay attention to article

"MIT Engineers" "World's First Schizophrenic Mice"

haah... rabid MIT engineers :-).

Someone need to fix that headline more appropriately.

all gene therapy and no play makes mouse.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20056137)

...something something...

Go crazy?

Don't mind if I DOOOOOOOOOO!

Any chance? (1)

verybadradio (1129207) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056219)

Any chance we can get these mice on Dr. Phil so we can find out what's really going on? How do THEY feel?

I don't care if they are schizophrenic (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056253)

I'm just wondering if they are pan-dimensional and capable of constructing the second greatest computer in all of time and space.

4 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20056289)

I guess no body noticed that this article is from 2003.

Thought broadcasting (via slashdot)... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20056327)

The way this story is being oversold as 'schizophrenic mice, now we can do targetted drugs' is ridiculous though the discovery may be a little step forward.
To start with, the notion that the mice are 'schizophrenic' on the basis that they have a genetic abnormality which can be loosely seen in some people with schizophrenia. It would be more interesting if all people with the mutation had schizophrenia - but they don't. The fact is that schizophrenia is not a genetically neat Mendelian type trait, or even any of the other interesting single gene modes of transmission discovered since, but rather a polygenic thing with a lot of other factors influencing as well (look at identical twin studies).
The notion of observing some behaviour in mice, and it being - well, essentially a bit brain damaged - and saying "this looks just like schizophrenia" is reminiscent of the emperors new clothes.
Nonetheless, this may be a little step towards understanding the disease. Their family studies are more interesting than the mice ones, actually, based on the little bit that I read.
And by the way, the whole ethics thing - "should we be doing this to the poor little mice?". Well, as a strict vegetarian myself (no gelatine, cochineal, ... or meat, I prefer not to cause needless suffering) - please, grow up people and get over these ridiculous sensibilities. Anything that gets us closer to fixing schizophrenia is worth a pile of mice bodies a mile high. As a doctor who has done both psychiatry and some animal research, I can't help wondering if the people asking the question have any idea of the suffering involved on each side of the equation.

mod d0wn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20056361)

and buil3ing is a productivity on baby...don't FreeBSD project,

What white mouse _isn't_ schizophrenic? (4, Interesting)

fygment (444210) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056571)

To be a white mouse is to be nestled in an alien environment of metal and bars, forced under threat of punishment to perform acts that have no relation to natural instincts, fed an array of processed and unnatural (to a mouse) foods, all while being watched by alien creatures that frequently whisk away your mouse friends and colleagues who, if they are returned, are often physically and psychologically damaged. Frankly, that any white mouse is considered "sane" by the researchers is a very telling commentary about the mental state of those running the laboratory.

Re:What white mouse _isn't_ schizophrenic? (1)

HaveNoMouth (556104) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056857)

Frankly, that any white mouse is considered "sane" by the researchers is a very telling commentary about the mental state of those running the laboratory.
Precisely.

"In fact there was only one species on the planet more intelligent than dolphins, and they spent a lot of their time in behavioral research laboratories running round inside wheels and conducting frighteningly elegant and subtle experiments on man." --HHGG

Re:What white mouse _isn't_ schizophrenic? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057643)

On other words, the life of a lab mouse is very much like that of an IT worker. That's not sane either, but we keep doing it day after day ...

Turn your acceleration and speed max and remap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20056747)

the buttons, instant schizophrenic mouse. What so hard

what have they done since they did this in 2003? (1)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 6 years ago | (#20056757)

I'd love to see a follow up article that discussed the practical extensions of this science that was done 4 years ago.

Hopefully it hasn't just been sitting on a shelf for all this time to only just now become "breaking" news.

Worse yet (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057841)

The article is a fluff piece with no real info, the findings from that study didn't yield anything as its redundant. And there is evidence in an article I read last year in GQ (of all places) that mice are the main targets of the infection that it thought to cause Schizophrenia.

also here http://www.dvorak.org/blog/?p=12372 [dvorak.org]

  Also the Wikipedia entry point out that a realistic study say that the real infection rate is 0.55% of the population. [I guess we are not as crazy a planet as first mentioned]

on the whole I would give this article a 0 for points and both a REDUNDANT and OVERRATED tag

Schizophrenic mice, you say? (1)

Yeechang Lee (3429) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057983)

That's crazy! Those MIT scientists must be insane! Totally off their rockers, they are!

as for symptoms (1)

NRISecretAgent (982853) | more than 6 years ago | (#20058129)

I wonder what a mouse's delusions of grandeur are. All I could imagine is a mouse running around constantly, either in an invisible ball or after invisible cheese. And you have to watch out for those secret government mice that are wearing cloaking devices that only they can see through and who don't age.
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