Top Researchers Debunk “The Myth of Schizophrenia as a Progressive Brain Disease”


Robert Zipursky, Thomas Reilly and Robin Murray, prominent researchers from Canada and the U.K., reviewing all recent evidence regarding schizophrenia as a progressive brain disease for Schizophrenia Bulletin, find “the idea that schizophrenia is a progressive brain disease is not supported by the weight of longitudinal neuroimaging and cognitive studies, and it is not consistent with what is now known about the clinical course of schizophrenia. It is important for optimum clinical care that the idea that underlying schizophrenia there exists an intrinsically malignant process be reconsidered. It has contributed to an undue pessimism among mental health professionals and their consequent alienation from sufferers and their representatives, who increasingly advocate for the “recovery model.”

Article → Zipursky, R., Reilly, T., Murray, R., The Myth of Schizophrenia as a Progressive Brain Disease. Schizophrenia Bulletin. Online November 20, 2012

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. PIty that Thomas Szasz died this year. He has always said that schizophrenia wasn’t a brain disease (see his book”Schizophrenia:The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry)

    I take it that the authors of this paper are honouring Tom with the title of the their paper.

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