Tag Archives | schizophrenia

Published Paper Blames Schizophrenia on Demons

DemonDemonic possession? Sure. That won’t play into the delusions of schizophrenics…

IS SCHIZOPHRENIA CAUSED by demons? A Turkish researcher seems to think so, and his article on the topic was just published in the Journal of Religion and Health, a scientific journal owned by Springer, a German-based publishing company.

The first two-thirds of M. Kemal Irmak’s paper, “Schizophrenia or Possession?”, read normally enough. You learn about the devastating symptoms of schizophrenia, current treatment approaches, and the nature of the delusions and hallucinations that schizophrenics experience. And then you arrive at this little doozy:

“One approach to this hallucination problem is to consider the possibility of a demonic world.”

The abrupt transition from established science to outlandish woo is positively comical. And once the quackery starts, it doesn’t stop. You’re first treated to a background on all things demonic:

In our region, demons are believed to be intelligent and unseen creatures that occupy a parallel world to that of mankind.

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Eye-Movement Test Accurately Indicates Schizophrenics

Pic: Vitold Muratov (CC)

Pic: Vitold Muratov (CC)

A recent study proposes that we may be able to use current technology to identify schizophrenics without spending the copious resources for a qualified neuropsychologist to diagnose an individual case.  What implications can this have for pilot licensing, holding government office, police recruiting, and generally the overall stigma associated with individuals who are functioning and non-functioning clinical schizophrenics?

A group of scientists from Scotland, Germany, and the USA recruited schizophrenic patients from mental hospitals in Munich, Germany and Aberdeen, Scotland. The researchers confirmed schizophrenia by diagnostic procedures in the DSM-IV as well as case history.  Control group participants were recruited from the area surrounding University of Aberdeen, excluding people with a history of alcohol abuse/dependence, major head trauma involving loss of consciousness for more than 5 minutes, epilepsy or other neurological dysfunction, and first-degree family history of psychosis.

Using infrared eye-tracking technology via the EyeLink I and a 19” video screen, the study tested visual patterns in smooth pursuit of a moving object for 20 seconds, fixation stability on the same stationary object, and free-viewing of photographs including:

“Luminance-balanced natural and man made environments showing information at different spatial scales; everyday objects and food in sparse and cluttered scenes; expressive, neutral, and occluded faces; animals; and unfamiliar computer-generated images (fractal patterns, gray-scale ‘pink noise.’”

The conclusion brought by the research is that schizophrenic individuals clearly lack an ability to perform visual tests the same as control individuals.  Diagnosed schizophrenics cannot accurately pursue an object with a smooth speed and path or concentrate with normal patterns when steadily gazing at the photographs presented.… Read the rest

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Driver Killed After Ramming White House Gates Believed Obama Was Electronically Monitoring Her

miriam careyThe tragic death of a young woman struggling with mental health issues apparently was inspired by a chilling, very contemporary schizophrenic delusion: that she was trapped in a reality television show under the surveillance of Barack Obama. ABC News writes:

The woman who led police on a high-speed chase near the U.S. Capitol before being shot dead had a history of mental illness and believed President Obama was electronically monitoring her Connecticut home in order to broadcast her life on television, sources said.

Miriam Carey, a dental hygienist from Stamford, Conn., was killed by police [a week ago] after trying to ram a White House gate and leading cops on a chase down Pennsylvania Avenue with her 1-year-old daughter in the car.

According to sources Carey believed she was capable of communicating with Obama. According to sources, Carey had a family history of schizophrenia and was taking medication for a mental illness.

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I Talk to My Haircut

I have no idea what this is all about but I can tell you this:  The Reverend Fred Lane is either a mad genius or in need of serious psychiatric medication. His album From the One That Cut You is loaded with dada/surreal/ schizophrenic lyrics sung over equally unstable and psychotic R&B music. Just look at the cover alone:  the crazy writing, band-aids, dinosaur glasses, and handlebar mustache. Hear the madness for yourself.  Here's I Talk to My Haircut.
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Schizophrenia Experiment Produces First Repeatable Out-of-Body Experience in the Laboratory

Rubber HandVia ScienceDaily:
A study using a procedure called the rubber hand illusion has found striking new evidence that people experiencing schizophrenia have a weakened sense of body ownership and has produced the first case of a spontaneous, out-of-body experience in the laboratory. These findings suggest that movement therapy, which trains people to be focused and centered on their own bodies, including some forms of yoga and dance, could be helpful for many of the 2.2 million people in the United States who suffer from this mental disorder. The study, which appears in the Oct. 31 issue of the scientific journal Public Library of Science One, measured the strength of body ownership of 24 schizophrenia patients and 21 matched control subjects by testing their susceptibility to the "rubber hand illusion" or RHI. This tactile illusion, which was discovered in 1998, is induced by simultaneously stroking a visible rubber hand and the subject's hidden hand.
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Mental Illness ‘In A Dish’

Cell culture in a petri dish. Photo: Jacopo Werther (CC)

Cell culture in a petri dish. Photo:

Researchers are using skin cells from patients with mental illnesses, such s schizophrenia, to grow new tissue as neurons. The hope is to find a genetic based influence for mental disorders and recognize the early stages of such diseases. From Ewen Callaway via Nature News:

Before committing suicide at the age of 22, an anonymous man with schizophrenia donated a biopsy of his skin cells to research. Reborn as neurons, these cells may help neuroscientists to unpick the disease he struggled with from early childhood.

Experiments on these cells, as well as those of several other patients, are reported today in Nature1. They represent the first of what are sure to be many mental illnesses ‘in a dish’, made by reprogramming patients’ skin cells to an embryonic-like state from which they can form any tissue type.

Recreating neuropsychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder using such cells represents a daunting challenge: scientists do not know the underlying biological basis of mental illnesses; symptoms vary between patients; and although psychiatric illnesses are strongly influenced by genes, it has proved devilishly hard to identify many that explain more than a fraction of a person’s risk.

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Is Schizophrenia Caused By An ‘Insanity Virus’?

imagesIt’s a novel and chilling theory: we are all born with a brain-ravaging virus that invaded the human DNA millions of years ago. Our bodies work to contain it, but childhood infections such as the flu can allow HERV-W to become temporarily unleashed — the cause of schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis. Discovery reports:

Schizophrenia has long been blamed on bad genes or even bad parents. Wrong, says a growing group of psychiatrists. The real culprit, they claim, is a virus that lives entwined in every person’s DNA.

Schizophrenia is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 25, but the person who becomes schizophrenic is sometimes recalled to have been different as a child or a toddler—more forgetful or shy or clumsy. Even more puzzling is the so-called birth-month effect: People born in winter or early spring are more likely than others to become schizophrenic later in life. It is a small increase, just 5 to 8 percent, but it is remarkably consistent, showing up in 250 studies.

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