"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Mental Health Day 

Schizophrenia is a debilitating illness, affecting about 1-2% of the population. It can take many forms, and there is not a set of symptoms seen in all patients. Multiple personality disorder is not the same as schizophrenia. Many schizophrenics hear voices in their heads, but those generally seem to them to be other, simultaneous entities (whereas in MPD, the personalities only 'exist' one at a time). It's a bloody awful disease, and its study is, while fascinating, pretty frustrating as nothing seems to work very well for very long.

One of the biggest questions in schizophrenia research is etiology. Why does it happen? What is the cause? There are endless theories and ideas, many supported by some good evidence, but no clear answers. There are genes known to be associated, but none necessary or sufficient for the disease to manifest. Trauma seems to trigger the disease, but not in everyone. A new study has found that exposure to influenza during the first half of pregnancy seems to increase the risk of developing the disease later in life. It looks like a pretty good study, so I look forward to seeing where it leads.

In less exciting news, NIH/NIAAA has released the results of a survey which claims that about 15% of Americans meet the criteria for a Personality Disorder. This may or may not be true, but it reads to me like another case of the pathologization of everything. Psycholog/iatrists are notoriously good at that.

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