Discover has an article up about how research is pointing to a possible viral cause for Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar Disorder and M.S.
A brief summary of the article:
HERV-W is an endogenous retro-virus – it is in basically everyone, as part of our genetic code. In most people, the body’s defenses are able to keep it under wraps (literally, bound up in protein) so that it doesn’t affect us. But, in some people, an early infection of some other virus – such as toxoplasmosis or influenza – as an infant may bring down the body’s defenses long enough to let the virus out. Once out, it wreaks havoc on the brain, causing degenerative inflammation in the case of Schizophrenia and actual brain lesions in the case of M.S.
The good news: this discovery will hopefully lead to new treatments that work better than current methods.