The Schizophrenia Research Program focuses on advancing the understanding of schizophrenia and developing evidence-based treatments. Xiang Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues in China are currently conducting research that:
- Investigates the role of viruses and other infectious agents along with immune dysfunction as possible causes of schizophrenia. Our research group employs molecular techniques to systematically study immune, genetic and infectious abnormalities in schizophrenia. At the present, two Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) supported clinical trials aimed at determining the possible effect of antimicrobial chemotherapy and immune adjustor on the symptoms and clinical course of schizophrenia have been completed.
- Utilizes a translational approach to understand addiction vulnerability in patients with serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. Our main focus has been on tobacco addiction co-morbidity. Our studies have attempted to understand the effects of nicotine, nicotinic agents and cigarette smoking on cognitive endophenotypes associated with schizophrenia. Currently, we are examining the effects of nicotinic allosteric modulators and agents in smokers and non-smokers with schizophrenia. We have completed a NIH-supported clinical trial in these areas:
- Nicotinic antagonists for the treatment of cognitive deficits and psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia.
- Smoking cessation medication trials in schizophrenia using non-nicotinic agents and nicotine replacement.
- Studies oxidative metabolism in schizophrenia. An ancillary theme is research on the association of free radical metabolism with the pathophysiology of tardive dyskinesia (TD), a movement disorder commonly occurring in patients treated chronically with antipsychotic drugs. Our interest in this area has led to studies that underlined the importance of the antioxidant in the outcome of schizophrenia, as well as TD treatment.
Xiang Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.
Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences Building (BBSB)
1941 East Road
Houston, TX 77054