Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The epidemiology of schizophrenia: replacing dogma with knowledge.

Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2010;12(3):305-15.

The epidemiology of schizophrenia: replacing dogma with knowledge.
Stilo SA, Murray RM.

Psychosis Clinical Academic Group, Institute of Psychiatry, King's Health Partners, King's College London, UK.

Major advances have been made in our understanding of the epidemiology of schizophrenia. We now know that the disorder is more common and severe in young men, and that the incidence varies geographically and temporally. Risk factors have been elucidated; biological risks include a family history of the disorder, advanced paternal age, obstetric complications, and abuse of drugs such as stimulants and cannabis. In addition, recent research has also identified social risk factors such as being born and brought up in a city, migration, and certain types of childhood adversity such as physical abuse and bullying, as well as social isolation and adverse events in adult life. Current research is focussing on the significance of minor psychotic symptoms in the general population, gene-environmental interaction, and how risk factors impact on pathogenesis; perhaps all risk factors ultimately impact on striatal dopamine as the final common pathway.