Aetiology of schizophrenia

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The World Health Organization (WHO) 10-Country Study establishes that (restrictively defined) schizophrenia occurs in populations in different physical, social and industrial environments at closely similar rates. No hard evidence for an exogenous factor has emerged; the disease is a component of intrinsic human variation, the fertility disadvantage, indicating that there must be a balancing advantage associated with either the gene or the mechanism that generates its variability. It is suggested that the advantage is the human capacity for language and communication, and that the evolution of this capacity has occurred on the basis of a genetically regulated asynchrony in the development of the two cerebral hemispheres.

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