One of the most devastating of illnesses, schizophrenia remains something of a mystery for scientists and psychiatrists trying to pinpoint its causes, understand its effects, and find a cure. Although we know that schizophrenia is an inherited disorder, new clues point to the probability that genes are only partly responsible for the disease. A growing body of evidence suggests that schizophrenia is often the result of environmental factors combined with a genetic predisposition.
In Prenatal Exposures in Schizophrenia, a group of distinguished scientists considers a range of epigenetic elements thought to interact with abnormal genes to produce the onset of illness. The authors pay particular attention to the evidence implicating obstetric complications, prenatal infection, autoimmunity, and prenatal malnutrition in brain disorders. Chapters are arranged within four sections: • Schizophrenia and brain development• Prenatal infectious exposures• Prenatal nutritional exposures• Prenatal immunological exposures
The book uses new findings on the effects of environment combined with genetics to shed light not only on the causes of schizophrenia, but also on preventive measures and potential cures.
In recent years, evidence has emerged that early and sustained intervention with antipsychotic medication can reduce the duration and severity of schizophrenic symptoms. Now, by identifying events during pregnancy that place the fetus at risk for developing schizophrenia and taking steps to prevent them, the outlook for decreasing the morbidity and perhaps even the incidence of schizophrenia has never been more promising.
American Psychiatric Publishing