The exact cause of the disease is unknown, but several etiological factors have been associated with this disease. It is believed that environmental and genetic factors interplay with each other and lead to the development of this disease. Studies have found concordance among twins. “Monozygotic twins are 65% concordant, and dizygotic twins are 12% concordant.” (Gerstein 2007)
Imbalance of certain brain chemicals e.g. dopamine and serotonin has been associated with schizophrenia. Several factors support this theory. Drugs such as cannabis and amphetamines which are known to alter the chemical balance of the brain can produce psychotic states that are very similar to schizophrenia. (Gerstein 2007)
Intrauterine factors have also been implicated in the etiology of the disease. “Women who are malnourished or who have certain viral illnesses during their pregnancy may be at greater risk of giving birth to children who later develop schizophrenia.” “Children born to Dutch mothers who were malnourished during World War II have a high incidence of schizophrenia.” (Frankenburg 2007)
“The 1957 influenza A2 epidemics in Japan, England, and Scandinavia resulted in an increase in schizophrenia in the offspring of women who developed this flu during their second trimester.” (Frankenburg 2007)
“Women in California who were pregnant between 1959 and 1966 were more likely to have children who developed schizophrenia if they had flu in the first trimester of their pregnancy.” (Frankenburg 2007)
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