Schizophrenia is Linked to Pre-Natal Flu

A new study by scientists at Columbia University confirmed a link between pre-natal influenza infection and schizophrenia:

One percent of the world’s population suffers from its symptoms of hallucinations, psychosis and impaired cognitive ability. The disease destroys relationships and renders many of its sufferers unable to hold down a job. What could cause such frightening damage to the brain? According to a growing body of research, the culprit is surprising: the flu.

If you are skeptical, you are not alone. Being condemned to a lifetime of harsh antipsychotic drugs seems a far cry from a runny nose and fever. And yet studies have repeatedly linked schizophrenia to prenatal infections with influenza virus and other microbes, showing that the children of mothers who suffer these infections during pregnancy are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia later in life. In 2006 scientists at Columbia University asserted that up to one fifth of all schizophrenia cases are caused by prenatal infections.

Doctors have known for many years that microbes such as syphilis and Streptococcus can, if left untreated, lead to serious psychiatric problems. Now a growing number of scientists are proposing that microbes are to blame for several mental illnesses once thought to have neurological or psychological defects at their roots. The strongest evidence pertains to schizophrenia, but autism, bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder have also been linked to bacterial, viral or parasitic infections in utero, in childhood or in maturity. Some of these infections can directly affect the brain, whereas others might trigger immune reactions that interfere with brain development or perhaps even attack our own brain cells in an autoimmune mistake.

Link - via Scribal Terror

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It is already well known that if a mother gets especially stressed during preganacy, her stress hormones can cross the placenta and this can cause problems for the baby.
When you get an infection, your immune system produces cytokines, which can trigger stress through the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis, which can cause an upregulation in stress hormones.
So essentially, when the baby recieves these hormones, it is essentially bieng told that the world outside is a stressful place. Because of this, it changes the sensory apparatus in it's brain to adapt to this situation. This is known as Foetal programming.
It has been hypothesised that in the wild, in times of stress, it was more beneficial to be schizophrenic than it is now, in our heavily industrialised society.
However, there has never been any incidence in which the actual influenza virus has been observed in the brains of foetuses. Instead it is believed that the inflammatory response to the flu is what causes these responses.
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There's a new cause for a mental illness hitting the news every week, none of which, (given time) are correct and they are withdrawn at a later date.

I've read those World Health Organisation studies demonstrating recovery rates for schizophrenia in third world countries where antipsychotic medication was not used (80% recovery). I've also read the work of Loren R. Mosher, M.D., former Chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia, National Institutes of Mental Health. He was getting recovery rates of 85% without the use of drugs.

It's pretty clear to me most people can be talked through to recovery from schizophrenia. This doesn't sound like a disease to me. I think the medical approach has failed, toxic brain disabling drugs should not be used and all research/funding should focus on L Mosher's approach.
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So how do we, as women and soon to be mothers, try to prevent some of this from happening? Short of locking myself away in a bubble with an oxygen machine... it seems that the odds aren't very good.
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@ bean

schizophrenia, like many other neural disorders, is nothing but a term. It describes a group of specific functionally debilitating abnormalities that often manifest themselves together.

Although there may be other causes for some of the symptoms found in highly effected schizophrenics, this proposed model has been found to explain many of the grouped symptoms that are known to be the basis for a proper diagnosis of clinical schizophrenia.
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@ all disbelievers,

this type of evidence has been around for years, it's not a wacky correlation: there's a very rational cause and effect happening here.

During the neuroblast stage of embryonic development (when all our cells are nothing but a fluid filled ball) our neurons begin developing on the inner surface of that ball structure relative to the functional mapping they will eventually have in the brain. This is only two dimensional though: like putting billions of dots on a piece of paper, it will fill up pretty quick. In order to help disperse the newly formed neurons through the thickness of the shell (outwards) there are helper cells called "radial glia" that move neurons to their correct three dimensional orientations in an orderly fashion.

When the mother gets the flu (@ Morgan: not a sinus infection, that's usually not anything but a localized immune response, I wouldn't worry) and it transfers to the unborn fetus, the enzyme (organic catalyst: in this case a solvent) - that is meant to break the connection between the neuron and the radial glia cell when it reaches the right position in the newly formed brain - is rendered inoperative. The radial glia keep pulling the neurons past where they're supposed to go, so instead of a neat and orderly distribution of neurons: they end up bunched up and all topsy-turvy; yet still a functionally complete model. What causes schizophrenia after this point is mostly speculation, but I've heard offhand that the brain may form new more-efficient pathways between neurons to compensate for the (now) inefficient destined pathways, and they end up competing for the same functions.

The brain's formation and function is a beautiful process that is barely understood, I hope I've helped to shed light on this situation instead of making it even more confusing.
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