Schizophrenia

Learn about
schizophrenia and what
we’re doing to help

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia impacts how a person thinks, feels and behaves. It is estimated to affect less than 1% of the population worldwide. Although schizophrenia is perhaps most commonly associated with symptoms such as seeing or hearing things that aren’t there, it can also affect the ability to concentrate and remember things.

What are the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia?

Traditionally, symptoms have been divided into three main types: psychotic, negative, and cognitive.

Psychotic

These describe changes in behavior and thoughts, including:

  • Hallucinations – a person may see, hear, smell, taste or feel things that are not actually there
  • Delusions – beliefs that are not true, including thinking others are trying to harm them
  • Thought disorder – a person may stop in mid sentence, switch topics, or invent new, meaningless words
  • Movement disorder – unusual or repetitive body movements
Negative

These describe symptoms that cause people to withdraw from the world around them, such as:

  • Struggling to plan or carry out everyday activities
  • Being unable to look forward to or enjoy things
  • Lack of expression in voice or face
  • Low energy; lack of movement or speech
Cognitive

Cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia (CIAS) is the term used to describe issues such as:

  • Struggling to process information and make decisions
  • Trouble remembering information
  • Inability to concentrate

Who does schizophrenia affect?

Schizophrenia is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 16 and 30. It’s thought that a person is more likely to have schizophrenia if someone else in their family has it. However, research also suggests that a person’s living environment could also play a part.

Our schizophrenia research

Generally, CIAS remains even if other symptoms of schizophrenia are being managed with medication and therapy. That’s why our research is focused on the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia.

What could a Biogen schizophrenia trial involve?

Before you join a trial, we first confirm your eligibility with some health assessments. Then, if you’re eligible and choose to take part in a schizophrenia trial, you’ll need to attend several appointments so that the trial team can closely monitor your health and condition with health assessments, such as:

Questionnaires/assessments

These will be to review your medical history, and any drugs you may be taking. Some assessments will measure how well you are performing daily activities, test your memory and give you an opportunity to share your experiences of living with schizophrenia and how you are feeling.

Vital signs

Your height/weight, blood pressure, pulse, breathing rate and temperature may be measured.

Physical and neurological exams

These exams include a general check of your physical health and reflexes.

Lab testing

Blood and/or urine samples may be collected for routine lab work and to screen for drugs and alcohol.

Other assessments will be involved. A full list of these, and all other requirements around taking part in a trial, would be fully discussed with you before you made a decision about whether to join a trial or not.

Depending on the assessments required at each visit, you may be able to complete some of them at home or over the phone.

And remember, if you join a clinical trial, there are many rules and regulations in place to protect your rights, safety, welfare, and personal data.

What is the role of a caregiver in a schizophrenia clinical trial?

Someone who cares for you, for example, a partner, sibling, other family member, close friend, or professional caregiver, may take part in the trial with you. This may be to help you get to and from your appointments and support you throughout the trial. Or, they might be asked to help monitor any changes in your condition and report them to us. Visit our section on caregivers for more information about this role.

How can I get involved?

To find new treatments for CIAS, we must first test investigational drugs in clinical trials. But in the same way that schizophrenia can impact people in different ways, how medicine works in the body can also vary for different groups of people. That’s why it’s so important that a diverse range of people take part in clinical trials.

You can learn more about the importance of diversity in clinical trials, and Biogen’s efforts to make an impact, here.

Interested in participating in a trial?

If you’re interested in learning more, please use our trial finder to see if there may be a clinical trial that is right for you.

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Help and resources

There are organizations that offer information and support for people living with schizophrenia and their families. Below are some groups where you can find out more about schizophrenia, connect with others, or learn about the latest research. Remember, this list of organizations does not imply an endorsement from Biogen or the listed organization.