Many psychiatric conditions with a neurological basis have been linked to changes in the brain affecting Dopamine based communication. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or chemical that transmits signals between nerve cells. It appears to function as an inhibitor. DARPP-32 is a protein thats essential for dopamine-mediated neuronal communication. The gene that encodes DARPP-32 exhibits genetic variation. A variant which increases expression of the mRNA encoding DARPP-32 in the brain was linked to increased performance in a number of cognitive tests, including IQ and memory tests. It was also associated with changes in the structure and function of part of the brain known as the neostriatum, as well as changes in the ability of the neostriatum to communicate with the frontal lobe. This variant was suspected to increase risk of schizophrenia. More at the Science Daily, The Australian and
The Times Online.