Causation of schizophrenia overall model

Although there is no agreement about the details, there is a general view that the condition reflects a combination of some or all of the following factors:

• There is genetic predisposition.

• There is subtle damage to the brain, perhaps through viral infection before birth.

• The condition 'lies dormant' in childhood (although prodromal signs such as clumsiness, developmental delay, and behavioural or emotional difficulties may later be recognizable, albeit retrospectively).

• The condition 'comes out' after puberty, in the context of the 'rewiring' or remodelling of the brain that is known to go on at adolescence.

• The condition 'comes out' especially if the person is subject to other pathogenic factors such as cannabis use.

'Is schizophrenia the price that Homo sapiens pays for language?' Such fascinating speculations (Crow, 2002) link the causation of schizophrenia with the evolutionary development of language, and the origins of cerebral dominance (left- or right-handedness). Gender differences are also important, males tending to develop the condition earlier, and to have a worse outlook than females.

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