Clue to Schizophrenia


Clue to Schizophrenia

A group of British researchers think that schizophrenia is caused by faulty transmission of information between the two hemispheres of the brain. The 200 million nerve fibers that connect the right and left halves of the brain, called the corpus callosum, control passage of information back and forth. A bad connection, in which one hemisphere of the brain would regard activity in the other hemisphere as coming from an outside source, could explain many schizophrenic symptoms, such as auditory hallucinations and delusions. Schizophrenics commonly attribute thoughts to outside sources like TV or other people.

The researchers believe that the left hemisphere overreacts when it cannot receive information properly from the right. They also think that vulnerability to schizophrenia develops early in life, perhaps during birth or before. Schizophrenics show high rates of birth complications.

It is possible to build up the corpus callosum and thus increase interhemispheral communication by becoming ambidextrous. The isthmus, a part of the corpus callosum, can double in size when right-handed people learn to use the left hand for some tasks. The study, which would prove the accuracy of the term "schizophrenia" (which means "split mind") was conducted by Max Birchwood and associates at Birmingham's All Saints Hospital. (Brain/Mind Bulletin, March 1990)

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By Holly Hammond

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