April 11, 2007

Environmental Factors May Combine to Influence the Development of Schizophrenia

Researchers investigated how environmental factors may interact with a developmental expression of, or predisposition towards, psychosis, causing a state of persistant psychosis -- a hallmark of schizophrenia.

Reporting in the Cambridge Journal of Psychological Medicine, the researchers built on earlier research suggesting that "low-grade psychotic experiences in the general population are a common but transitory developmental phenomenon".

Their results indicate that environmental factors such as cannabis, trauma and urbanicity act in an additive fashion to increase the risk for persistent psychosis. The level of environmental risk also combines synergistically (combined action of two things being greater than the sum of their effects individually) with the person's own innate risk for developing persistent psychosis.

The researchers write:

"Cumulative exposure to these additively acting developmental environmental risk factors in subjects with liability for psychosis, as evidenced by psychotic experiences, may result in cumulative changes in the functioning of the dopamine system, possibly affecting the persistence and deterioration of developmental psychotic features."

Read the full article: Environmental factors combine with developmental expression of psychosis

Source abstract: Does normal developmental expression of psychosis combine with environmental risk to cause persistence of psychosis? A psychosis proneness–persistence model

Related Reading:
Stress, Dopamine and Unusual Experiences in Everyday Life

Psychosis Among Siblings of Schizophrenia Patients

Poets and Artists Have as Many "Unusual Experiences" as People with Schizophrenia

Urban Schizophrenia Risk: A Family Affair?

Cannabis Abuse May Lead to Earlier Schizophrenia Onset, Worse Outcome

Adverse Childhood Events Impact Outcomes for People with Schizophrenia Disorders


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