Tag: schizophrenia and violence
A team from Sweden's Karolinska Institute and Britain's University College of London found, in a study of 1.3 million people in Sweden's national register,...
Last week, the headlines blared: "Schizophrenia breakthrough as genetic study reveals link to brain changes!" We heard that our best hope for treating “schizophrenia” is to understand it at a genetic level, and that this new breakthrough would get us really started on that mission, as it showed how a genetic variation could lead to the more intense pruning of brain connections, which is often seen in those diagnosed with schizophrenia. “For the first time, the origin of schizophrenia is no longer a complete black box,” said one (while admitting that "it's still early days"). The acting director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) described the study as “a crucial turning point in the fight against mental illness.” But is all this hype justified?
Another scientific study that ostensibly identifies a biological cause of schizophrenia has appeared and is being widely reported. So, we finally have the elusive breakthrough to understanding the biological basis of schizophrenia. Or do we? A close look at the source of all this hyperbolic language raises serious questions about such enthusiasm.
On January 27, 2016, a study1 was published online in the prestigious journal Nature that touted the possibility of discovering some potential biological origins of an "illness" called "schizophrenia" Subsequently, headlines across the world beamed excited proclamations of the latest breakthrough to occur in psychiatric research. The problem is, there is nothing profound about this study at all and, in fact, it is one of the least profound studies to emerge in the last few years on the topic of "schizophrenia." It ignores the robust support that has accumulated that undermines the genetic disease model of "mental illness" and the categorical understanding of experiences falling under the umbrella term "schizophrenia."
Philip Chism, who at 14-years-old brutally assaulted and murdered his teacher at Danvers high school in Massachusetts, has attempted to mount an insanity defense by producing brain scans that his expert witnesses have connected to schizophrenia. The judge has dismissed this evidence, however. “The inference the jury was asked to draw was that the volumetric value of the brain [is] consistent with schizophrenia is that the defendant has schizophrenia,” he said. “That is simply an impermissible inference for the jury to draw.”