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MDLinxAntipsychotic Drugs Work Differently Than Scientists Believed

The study showed that antipsychotic medicines, which block the excessive dopamine that causes schizophrenia symptoms, interact with an entirely different cell than previously thought.

Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered that antipsychotic drugs, crucial in treating schizophrenia, interact with different neurons than previously assumed. This breakthrough could potentially lead to more effective treatments with fewer side effects, challenging the established understanding of psychosis treatment.

Key Points:

  • Antipsychotic drugs, used primarily in schizophrenia treatment, have been found to interact with different neurons than previously believed.
  • This significant finding redefines our understanding of the neural basis for psychosis.
  • The new research could pave the way for the development of more effective drugs with fewer side effects.
  • Traditional research methods typically evaluate antipsychotic drug candidates on mouse behavior, but this new approach is more effective in predicting drug efficacy in humans.

Additional Points:

  • Schizophrenia, affecting 1 in 100 people, often exhibits ineffective response to current antipsychotics in more than 30% of patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia.
  • The adverse effects of current antipsychotics, such as tardive dyskinesia and parkinsonism, limit their use.
  • The study first determined how antipsychotic drugs modulate the brain region causing psychosis in living animals.


  • This research reveals a potential new path to develop more effective and safer drugs for schizophrenia, challenging traditional beliefs about the neural basis for psychosis.

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“This is a landmark finding that completely revises our understanding of the neural basis for psychosis and charts a new path for developing new treatments for it. It opens new options to develop drugs that have fewer adverse side effects than the current ones.”

Lead Investigator Jones Parker
Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
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