British scientists have made a major breakthrough that could one day help stop schizophrenia in its tracks. Cardiff University researchers discovered that a gene known to be involved in the mental illness is active in newborns.

The “immense” finding raises the possibility that infants could be screened and treated to prevent the condition developing later on. It could also offer hope to those with bipolar disorder and depression. Symptoms of panic, anger, depression, hallucinations and delusions can all take a heavy toll on schizophrenia sufferers and their families.

The latest discovery suggests that the seeds of the condition are sown in the first weeks of life— with knock-on consequences in later years. The Cardiff study centered on a gene called DISC-1, which is known to be involved in a range of mental illnesses including schizophrenia.

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