Monday, February 14, 2011

"Oh, and I certainly don't suffer from schizophrenia. I quite enjoy it. And so do I."

Headline is borrowed from Emily Autumn.

Schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder whose genetic influences remain elusive. When I studied freudian psychology, I was told the disorder being induced by growing up in an environment that gave you double meassages; double bindings. After growing up myself, I am wondering if you can grow up in our society without being affected by double binding? It is probably a combination between genes and environment.

The “Guru” or spiritual teacher Osho saw modern people as Schizophrenic; "Schizophrenia is a normal condition of man--at least now. It may not have been so in the primitive world, but centuries of conditioning, civilization, culture and religion have made man a crowd--divided, split, contradictory.... The whole effort of Zen is how to drop this schizophrenia, how to drop this split personality, how to drop the divided mind of man, how to become undivided, integrated, centered, crystallized. The way you are, you cannot say that you are. You don't have a being. You are a marketplace--many voices. If you want to say 'yes', immediately the 'no' is there."

Supporting Osho is popular author Terry Pratchett. In one of his books- according to my sister who forgot which one so I cannot properly refer to it but rather to her- a demon tries to possess a human. The demon fails, once inside the host the demon is lost in a big meeting between voices that constantly argues. The demon is perplexed "which one of these voices should I possess?", it cannot take it and leaves the body.

I do not mean to slack the actual syndrome involves a much louder and serious version of this "human state", including  severe hallucinations and paranoia. We healthy individuals might have annoyed voices that complain about missing the bus.

Good news for patients and their relatives. An American group has identified a genetic duplication of a receptor in the genome of 1% of Schizophrenia patients. A receptor is a protein that sits in the cell membrane in order to pick up signals from the outside and convey these meassages to the cells on the inside of the membrane. In the duplication patients, instead of making one copy of the receptor, the cell made two. Consequently, the cells in a Schizophrenic patient have a higher numer of receptors in their membrane. This means that the signal that the receptor is conveying is twice as high. If there is a drug that can inhibit this receptor from signalling, one can in theory cure the syndrome.

It is interesting that syndromes like Schizophrenia shows similar receptor distributions as people who are creative and good at thinking outside the box. The same structures that might induce the symptoms might also help the brain to extend itself outside imprinted thought structures. This indicate that other factors are needed to develop the syndrome.

Words on meditation and zen work and how it can help schitzophrenia, of course it should not replace medication but it could be another great asset among many tools to live with this disorder.

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