It’s Getting To Be A Mad Mad Gene Hunt

The wierdness the mad gene hunt has taken on becomes apparent with a heading like the following one in Science Alert, Schizophrenia variants present in all. We’re all mad, in other words, but now we’re looking for DNA patterns that would link the mad ones with the ones who haven’t been caught yet.

While previous studies have pinpointed several genes along with rare chromosomal deletions and duplications associated with the disease, these account for less than three per cent of risk of schizophrenia.

I remember reading about a chromosomal deletion that was found in 1 % of the schizophrenic population. Ironically the population labeled schizophrenic comprises about 1 % of the entire population. 1 out of 4 people with this chromosomal deletion were found to develop schizophrenia…

This coincidence is no smoking gun, surely.

But the new method found that about a quarter of schizophrenia is captured by many variants that are common in the general population.

These mad gene patterns occur in a lot of people who aren’t mad, too. Imagine that.

According to QBI’s [University of Queensland’s Queensland Brain Institute], Associate Professor Naomi Wray, who led the international study, this suggests that we all carry genetic risk variants for schizophrenia, but that the disease only emerges when the burden of variants, in combination with environmental factors, reaches a certain tipping point.

Great going, Naomi! You get Lunatic Fringe’s Mad Scientist Of The Hour Award!

Genetic risk variants, in combination with environmental factors? Oh, and do environmental factors alone explain the other 75 % of the mad population? As we are dealing with biological psychiatry, I imagine the correct answer given would have to be no. The claim being we just haven’t found all the other genetic risk variants we are looking for.

I’ve read where researchers thought “mental illness” was 70 % biologically determined. Alright. We’re onto 1 in 4 cases, but we’ve still got a long long ways to go before we’ve get the other 45 % figured out.

What test did they use to come up with this 70 % figure? Well, it has to be over 50 % as they’re biological psychiatry proponents. It has to be under 100 % because there are a lot of blurred lines in the field. Just think about the number of people initially with ADHD, depression, and other disorder labels that were later tagged bipolar. In theory, supposedly based on evidense, the bipolar gene is connected to the schizophrenia gene, and so on. I imagine maybe somebody held that a 7 being his or her lucky number would look good with a zero following it.

Anyway someday we will have all these mad genes that everybody has figured out. You think?

10 Responses

  1. I can’t believe you are even playing along , as there is no empirical test for witchcraft or schizophrenia to start off with.
    There is no foundation to start with.

    • Playing along? I can’t prevent them from pursuing the kind of research they are conducting. I do feel I have to take a few swipes at it though. I agree that it’s a witch hunt, and maybe that’s where I should have started, with witch DNA.

      There is no foundation to this mad gene witch hunt but prejudice. People believe this garbage, especially parents who hate their own children. They couldn’t get away with doing it to African Americans, but they can get away with it when it comes to people in the mental health system. This is an example of extent to which people in that system are oppressed.

      Even the evidence doesn’t support biological psychiatry theory, but obviously people who buy into it aren’t cognizant of this lack of evidentiary support. I think it important to show, from the studies made by proponents of biological psychiatry itself, that the evidence just isn’t there.

  2. And the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone..

    The professor’s comments are a crock, one has to say.

    Maybe she should have a word with Judith:

    So, what about the bees, MFV?

    • Bio-psychiatry researchers have tried to imply that mood disorders and schizophrenia are somehow related genetically, and I was reacting to this sort of murkiness. I don’t think we have any “illness” here, but we do often have toxic drug reactions. We are all related genetically.

      Bees and autism are another skit for Saturday Night Live. Autists may indeed have little brains, but they’re not that little. I think I have a better feeling about those entomologists that are trying to save threatened bee populations. The parellels between bee brains and human brains can only go so far.

      Playing devil’s advocate, bees perform much good service for us, grasshopper! We know so little about human behavior, maybe we need to start simple.

      Then again, how much money should we be throwing away on outlandish research that may not benefit anybody?

  3. The article begins with the assumption that schizophrenia causing genes exist. So as markps2 suggests we could stop reading there.

    But we keep reading because we want to see what silly thing they’ll say next. So they go on to say that these so called variants appear to occur too frequently but that they are prepared to plug away in the hope of one day being able to apply more individualized treatment.

    We hear from molecular psychiatrists about their level of funding. Unsurprisingly they don’t tell us that they are being overfunded or that the amount of funding is just right.

    • Or that the funding is coming from drug companies. Now they have companies offering DNA tests so that a person will know which psychiatric drugs they are most combatable with, and that’s pure and simple BS. The idea that these drugs affect people on a completely individual, and genetically specific, basis is just more drug industry spin. Given direct to consumer advertising, it is as if we’re driving down the road past a red flashing neon light that says, Drugs Drugs Drugs. If this drug doesn’t do it for you, maybe that drug will. Long term neuroleptic drug use universally causes cognitive decline, but mental health research is such that the literature confuses effects of the drugs with “symptoms” attributed to the label.

      The premise behind most biological psychiatry research is that you’ve got biological based “diseases” producing “symptoms” that can only be managed by a daily psychiatric drug regimen. The reality is, 1. there is no “disease”, 2. behavior isn’t symptomology, 3. psychiatric drugs are toxic, and 4. if you rely on a conventional psychiatrist you’re likely to wind up getting worse.

      Well, the thing about biological psychiatry, requiring a better parody than I can manage, is that its researchers don’t have the evidense to support their conclusions. This research is based mostly on presumption, hoping to be borne out by statistics later in time. Following presumptions rather than evidense is a cul-de-sac. They know very little, they think they’re on the verge of some great increase in knowledge, and this knowledge is not just directed toward exploring the workings of the brain. Perceiving “abnormal”, deviant, eccentric, abherrent, or annoying behavior as the result of an “abnormal” brain is not pursuing the matter with an open mind. The results of their research don’t even support their theory. I think the mad gene witch hunt needs to be exposed for what it is, prejudice mixed with wishful thinking.

  4. Schizophrenia exists. Drugs are not responsible for every case of mental health problem that occurs.

    I would prefer that the bees be left alone along with all the other animals scientists experiment on. Bee populations must be preserved. No bees = no pollenation = no food = no humans.

    Autistic brains are larger.

    • Madness exists. Schizophrenia is a label and a fiction. Psychiatric drugs are responsible for high non-recovery rates. From schizophrenia or madness? Disorientation or extreme distress? You choose.

      I’m not against seeking solutions to ‘problems in living’ as Thomas Szasz calls them. I just wouldn’t call any such problem “schizophrenia” which, to blame Josef Bleuer, means “split soul”. Now go find a “soul”, and then find a “split” in it.

      So somebody has discovered environmentalism? It’s about time. (Please, pardon my sarcasm!)

      As are genius brains, barring “normalization” by psychiatric drugs, of course. Also, and on a cautionary note, swelling can actually indicate damage, or “structural change”, not necessarily a good thing.

  5. Madness is a label. What do you want to do? Take everyone who has any kind of mental difference and lump them all together in the insane asylum again? They are all mad, they are. Come on, now. What gives you the right to do define these people? You have no more right to do that than anyone else. I say that the difference or condition currently known as schizophrenia exists. I say that, as the word’s meaning is “split soul”, that it is probably a more accurate description of the condition currently know as dissociative identity disorder, formerly know as having a split personality.

    (It is not clear to me what you mean by “From schizophrenia or madness? Disorientation or extreme distress? You choose.”)

    Psychiatric drugs should be used in moderation and their use should be regularly reviewed. Recovery must be the model. Children must be allowed to reach an age where their brains are fully formed before they are consulted about whether they think they need help. Only in the most extreme of circumstances can they be treated with medication, and I mean extreme. That means that they are in extreme distress, not that those around them are because they have lousy parenting skills.

    You are rather snarky today. “It’s about time”? Oh yes, of course it has only just occurred to me to stick up for the bees..

    Genius brains are larger? That must be why I take such a large hat size.

    • I was arguing semantics. Schizophrenia, madness, disorientation, extreme distress or agitation, and overwhelm could be words used to describe the same phenomenon. This is like saying its all and none of the above. A word is not a thing, it’s a sign used to denote a thing. This doesn’t mean that every word is an apt word for the thing it denotes. The French surrealist artist Rene Magritte once painted a painting of a smoking pipe. He titled the same painting, This is not a pipe. Quite literally his painting was not a pipe, it was paint on canvas, but that is only the beginning when it comes to the many levels of meaning that can be applied to this simple subject. This is not the same thing as saying, as I am saying, that this thing we are calling a “disease” isn’t a “disease”. That’s my point of view. You have another point of view.

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