Opinion Piece (There are no ‘schizophrenia genes’: here’s why)


(ENCA 11 April 2016)
Richard Bentall, University of Liverpool and David Pilgrim, University of Liverpool

Genetic theories of schizophrenia were popular in the early part of the 20th century. They were built on 19th century concepts of eugenics that assumed a “tainted” gene pool that underpinned insanity, idiocy, prostitution, alcoholism, epilepsy and all other forms of physical or psychological “deviance”.

Psychiatric geneticists of the period laid the foundation stones for what is now known as “quantitative genetics”, using studies of families, twins and adopted children to estimate the amount of variation in a trait such as schizophrenia that could be attributed to genes. That early work, which was reinforced by that of eminent eugenicist psychiatrists, such as Franz Kallmann and Eliot Slater after World War Two, led ultimately to large estimates of the “heritability” of schizophrenia, typically around 80%, which were assumed to leave little room for social causes of the disorder.

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Note: Cutting and pasting an ENTIRE article into these forums is massive copyright infringement that could leave poor @SzAdmin on the hook for the bill if someone lets a lawyer off its leash. Please just cut and paste a snippet of the article with a link to the rest to avoid causing legal unpleasantries. I edited the original post for this reason.


Volunteer moderator.

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Hiya! So sorry about that, but I wasn’t allowed to post links… That’s what the Forum said… But, thank you. I hope the article is still available, but if not, could you post it…? The story can be found on ENCA news site. It’s new, so not far from the top… Thanks, regards, raine

Its an opinion piece by psychologists - who understandably have a different perspective than geneticists or psychiatry researchers.

It’s probably like @Minnii @firemonkey and me were discussing last night, a combination of both genetic risk factors and then outside influences, nature plus nurture combined.

Right now I’m finally seeing a therapist and psychiatrist at the same time, and they both work together as a team in the same facility. I think it should often be done this way, it’s nice to have both ends covered instead of just one or the other.

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