Tagschizophrenia

New Study Finds No Causal Link Between Schizophrenia and Marijuana

Previous studies have found that cannabis users were more likely to develop psychotic disorders than non-cannabis users, but were unable to determine a causal relationship between use of the drug and psychosis. A new study suggests that there is no causal link.

In the new study, by comparing families with and without a history of marijuana use, the Harvard researchers were able to address this question.

They recruited four groups:

-87 non-psychotic people who had used no drugs.
-84 non-psychotic people who had used marijuana.
-32 patients who had schizophrenia but hadn’t used drugs.
-76 patients with schizophrenia who had used marijuana.

They then looked at the relatives of those with schizophrenia in comparison to the relatives of those in the control groups.

The results showed an increased risk of developing schizophrenia in the relatives of patients who already had schizophrenia, whether or not those patients used marijuana.

This study, then, finds no evidence that marijuana is associated with developing schizophrenia.

Full Story: PsyBlog: Marijuana Does Not Cause Schizophrenia

Previously

Pot smokers who started young more likely to exhibit psychosis

Cannabis-Psychosis link not caused by dopamine increase

Is Schizophrenia Caused by Retroviruses?

Is Schizophrenia Caused by Retroviruses?

DNA by Micah Baldwin

Mind blowing research that indicates that schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and multiple sclerosis could be caused by a retrovirus and triggered by other infections such as toxoplasmosis:

The facts of schizophrenia are so peculiar, in fact, that they have led Torrey and a growing number of other scientists to abandon the traditional explanations of the disease and embrace a startling alternative. Schizophrenia, they say, does not begin as a psychological disease. Schizophrenia begins with an infection.

The idea has sparked skepticism, but after decades of hunting, Torrey and his colleagues think they have finally found the infectious agent. […]

After eight years of research, Perron finally completed his retrovirus’s gene sequence. What he found on that day in 1997 no one could have predicted; it instantly explained why so many others had failed before him. We imagine viruses as mariners, sailing from person to person across oceans of saliva, snot, or semen—but Perron’s bug was a homebody. It lives permanently in the human body at the very deepest level: inside our DNA. After years slaving away in a biohazard lab, Perron realized that everyone already carried the virus that causes multiple sclerosis. […]

Through this research, a rough account is emerging of how HERV-W could trigger diseases like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and MS. Although the body works hard to keep its ERVs under tight control, infections around the time of birth destabilize this tense standoff. Scribbled onto the marker board in Yolken’s office is a list of infections that are now known to awaken HERV-W—including herpes, toxoplasma, cytomegalovirus, and a dozen others. The HERV-W viruses that pour into the newborn’s blood and brain fluid during these infections contain proteins that may enrage the infant immune system. White blood cells vomit forth inflammatory molecules called cytokines, attracting more immune cells like riot police to a prison break. The scene turns toxic.

Discover Magazine: The Insanity Virus

(Thanks Paul)

Previously: Virus Behind Insanity?

See also:

Humanity is a virus. Literally

The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease

Photo by Micah Baldwin

Reefer madness for real? Try media madness

Today at Hit and Run Jacob Sullum looks at last week’s “reefer madness” media scare:

By contrast, the Daily Mail waits until the 29th (and last) paragraph to note that “others questioned the link, pointing out there has been little change in rates of schizophrenia in recent years despite the rise in cannabis use and the increasing strength of the drug.” But the paper more than makes up for that concession with a sidebar on “three heavy drug users and their horrific killings” that Harry Anslinger would have envied.

Full Story: Hit and Run.

My hypothesis: mainstream media makes you insane.

Psychiatric treatment of ghost possession

I can’t remember who sent this along, it was a while ago and I just got around to reading it. Interesting comment at the end:

It’s not clear to me why the cure of possession by the use of psychoactive drugs would seem unreasonable if, in fact, the vulnerability to this state had been induced by some ingested substance. I believe that practitioners of Voodoo, as well as shamans of numerous cultures, are reported to use ingested substances to facilitate their possession by discarnate entities. Many pharmaceuticals have an antidote which produces the opposite effect, and the anti-schizophrenia drug administered could well have brought about this effect, closing the open portal in the central nervous system of the patient.

Full Story: Mind Hacks: Classic case: Psychiatric treatment of ghost possession

Virus Behind Insanity?

A pair of authors suggest that the rise in mental illness since the 18th century is due to biological factors, possibly a virus: “Growing population and urbanization allowed the infectious agent — a virus or parasite — to spread more rapidly in the densely populated cities, they say.” Or it could just be increased diagnosis, rather than increased occurrence.

Seattle PI: Virus behind insanity, authors suggest

(via Post Atomic)

See also: Is Schizophrenia Caused by Retroviruses?

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