Researchers, genetics, and schizophrenia

You have to read this stuff in order to believe it. Here’s an article in the Science News section of UPI.com, Genetics of schizophrenia studied, you just won’t believe.

Just like snowflakes, no two people are alike even if they’re identical twins, Canadian genetics researchers studying the roots of schizophrenia said.

Talk about your weird conclusions, if the researchers weren’t geneticists, I think maybe they could have discerned that there were more major differences between any two snowflakes than there were between any two sets of identical twins. What if, just supposing, schizophrenia wasn’t genetically determined?…

Researchers at the University of Western Ontario have been working to determine the genetic sequencing of schizophrenia using identical twins.

They’d have to be researching something else, right?

Now flip a coin.

“We started with the belief that monozygotic (identical) twins are genetically identical, so if one member of identical twins has schizophrenia, then the risk for the other twin should be 100 percent, if it’s all due to genes,” Singh said. “However, studies over the years have shown that the risk of the disease in both twins is only 50 percent.”

Rather than concluding that schizophrenia is not genetic, these researchers have concluded that identical twins aren’t really identical. Go figure.

4 Responses

  1. “If I had any desire to lead a life of indolent ease, I would wish
    to be an identical twin, separated at birth from my brother and
    raised in a different social class. We could hire ourselves out to a
    host of social scientists and practically name our fee. For we would
    be exceedingly rare representatives of the only really adequate natural
    experiment for separating genetic from environmental effects
    in humans—genetically identical individuals raised in disparate
    environments.”

    -Stephen Jay Gould; The Mismeasure of Man

    [note the title of Gould’s book — like the double blind placebo trials, twins-separated-at-birth experiments only have the appearance of accurate, scientific measurement. They have proven to be, time and time again, subjective… a “mismeasurement” according to the self-proclaimed standards of the objective priesthood…]

    • I think you could make the same sort of case for alternate histories and alternate futures. Imagine earth’s twin with an equally highly evolved predominate species, and give her different values, and a different fate. It could go either way, up or down. A Hitler could have won their WWII, and they’d have the ensuing mess to contend with. Given another value system, citizens could have decided a liveable environment was worth more than profits, and nipped the greenhouse effect in the bud. They could have developed a society that wasn’t intent on widening the gap between rich haves and impoverished have nots. Of course, it’s not too late to change things now, although it may become so before long. I see this divergence of fates as an argument for responsible decision making and an argument against leaving events to the whims of chance (and personal apathy). People can make a difference, it’s important for them to make this connection.

  2. If the circumstances of just being an identical twin led to some kind of difficult situation then emotional difficulties could follow. The “circumstances” could be, amongst many others, that there was some kind of superstition in the neighborhood or that the birth of twins caused practical or financial difficulty in the family. But generally being a twin doesn’t make it any more likely that they will be diagnosed with a so called mental illness.

    If an id twin is diagnosed with a so called mental illness people are interested to see if the other twin is also diagnosable. If so, it can still be said that the other twin is likely to be experiencing a similar environment and will be susceptible, just as a non identical twin or sibling of similar age, to whatever emotional problem may be occurring. But the shrinks will confabulate concordance when they can and put it down to susceptibility caused by genetics.

    So then the shrinks say “Gotcha” triumphantly and wheel out the studies of twins separated at birth. The problem is that the studies are bogus. Many of the studies are downright fraudulent in that the twins were not wholly separated and ignorant of the existence of the other twin. Often if there was a reasonable state of separation the circumstances that caused them to be separated were traumatic and so they had something very relevant in common.

    Also even if a twin was completely separated without any trauma and both lived in happy homes they still share an environment. For example if they happen to have an appearance, physique or tone of voice that invites scrutiny and the difficulties that may ensue then it may be that they will appear to both become “mentally ill”.

    So the twin studies were bogus AND when any supposed concordance was shown it was found to be either cherry picked or just outright wrong, as would be expected since the whole notion of mental illness is crap.

    • I’m not saying that there might not be some kind of hereditary element to some cases of what has been dubbed “mental illness”. I’m just saying that if there is such an element, it hasn’t been proven, despite all the research working under entirely bio-medical premises. I’m also saying that people recover, and so they can’t all be damned from birth. If they never develop “symptoms” (or annoy some vainglorious body), and they have a targetted marked gene sequence, what then? If one is talking “propensity to develop” a “sickness”, one is talking something that need not be so in the first place. There is room for making different decisions, and taking different courses of action. Biological psychiatry is very adept at seeing the emptiness in a half empty glass, and missing the fullness in that glass altogether. Obviously, if heredity has anything to do with people having problems in living, it doesn’t have everything to do with the matter.

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