reply to post by karl 12
"Data that suggests schizophrenia may be a side effect of a surge in evolution as humans adapted over hundreds of thousands of years to their
environment - linked with creativity, language and artistic skills, problem solving and our ability to work together ".
The Royal Society Biological Sciences.
"Tiny mutations in our ancestors' brain cells triggered mankind's takeover of the world 100,000 years ago. But these changes also cursed our
species to suffer from schizophrenia and depression.
This is the controversial claim by biochemist David Horrobin in a new book, The Madness of Adam & Eve: How schizophrenia shaped humanity, to be
published by Bantam Press next month.
Horrobin - who is medical adviser to the Schizophrenia Association of Great Britain - argues that the changes which propelled humanity to its current
global ascendancy were the same as those which have left us vulnerable to mental disease.
'We became human because of small genetic changes in the chemistry of the fat in our skulls,' he says. 'These changes injected into our ancestors
both the seeds of the illness of schizophrenia and the extraordinary minds which made us human.'
Horrobin's theory also provides support for observations that have linked the most intelligent, imaginative members of our species with mental
disease, in particular schizophrenia - an association supported by studies in Iceland, Finland, New York and London. These show that 'families with
schizophrenic members seem to have a greater variety of skills and abilities, and a greater likelihood of producing high achievers,' he states. As
examples, Horrobin points out that Einstein had a son who was schizophrenic, as was James Joyce's daughter and Carl Jung's mother.
In addition, Horrobin points to a long list of geniuses whose personalities and temperaments have be-trayed schizoid tendencies or signs of mental
instability. These include Schumann, Strindberg, Poe, Kafka, Wittgenstein and Newton. Controversially, Horrobin also includes individuals such as
Darwin and Faraday, generally thought to have displayed mental stability.
According to Horrobin, schizophrenia and human genius began to manifest themselves as a result of evolutionary pressures that triggered genetic
changes in our brain cells, allowing us to make unexpected links with different events, an ability that lifted our species to a new intellectual
plane. Early manifestations of this creative change include the 30,000-year-old cave paintings found in France and Spain.
The mutation Horrobin proposes involves changes to the fat content of brain cells. 'Sixty per cent of the non-aqueous material of the brain is fat.
Humans have bigger heads than chimpanzees because their heads are full of fat.' By adding fat to our brain cells, we were able to control the flow of
electrical signals more carefully and make more complex connections within our cortexes.
Our 'schizophrenia inheritance' was 'the single most important event in human history' and marked the break 'between our large-brained, possibly
pleasant but unimaginative ancestors, and the restless, creative creatures we are today,' he adds.
This idea was last week described as 'a reasonable hypothesis' by palaeontologist Professor Chris Stringer, of the Natural History Museum, London.
'It is well known there have been key brain cell mutations in our species in our recent past. It is also likely there would have been undesirable
These supplied our brain with the chemicals needed to maintain proper mental operation. With the invention of agriculture our diets changed and the
fat content of our food altered - making us more vulnerable to mental diseases, says Horrobin. "
So,not god,not intelligent design,not benevolent aliens but ´sea monkeys with schizophrenia´ may be responsible for homo sapien´s unique
heritage,nature,attributes and behaviour.
Any thoughts or opinions on this explanation out there?
[edit on 02/10/08 by karl 12]