One Last Comment (for now) on Trauma and Schizophrenia

By Dr David Laing Dawson

I do not understand the term “co-causal”. In the study of disease we look for necessary etiological factors, contributing factors, and protective factors. For TB it is necessary to be exposed to a certain micro-organism. Contributing factors include crowding, poor ventilation, poor immune system, poor nutrition. Protective factors include excellent immune system, robust health, hygiene, fresh air.

“Trauma” is a loaded word. It generally infers a major assault on one’s body, brain, mind. When the word is used it is understood in this way. A diet excessively rich in carbohydrates causing a particular messenger protein to be manufactured and released by mitochondrial DNA and then influencing the genes that are scheduled to turn on or turn off other genes during future developmental phases is not, in usual parlance, a “Trauma.”

And finally, with respect to statistics and scientific journals: There was a time I think when only the scientists and medical professionals read these articles, and generally they knew how limited, usually, each was in establishing an ultimate truth. Each depended on a specific population studied, on particular definitions, particular measures of outcome, experimental bias, reader bias, uncontrolled variables. We also always knew that null studies do not get published.

Now the selective summaries of these studies show up in newpapers and google if they “find something”.

It has been of interest to me as a male Canadian of European descent to learn definitively if it is healthier to partake of no alcohol, red wine only, one, two, three, or four drinks per day. So I confess that I read these studies more often than studies on “schizophrenia and trauma.”

Given the large numbers of people who drink alcohol and the large numbers of people who drink none, it really should be easy to answer my question. Much easier than tracking down “co-causal” intrauterine factors in the development of schizophrenia.

Yet despite the money and interest in the alcohol question, large population studies, and definitive statements in the press, we still know (scientifically) little more than my grandmother who preached “moderation.”

6 thoughts on “One Last Comment (for now) on Trauma and Schizophrenia

  1. I respect your point of view. I was only trying to get a handle on the notion of trauma as something that increases the RISK of serious psychotic disorders. So “co-causal” means “multi-factorial”. Nothing is entirely caused by the genes, except perhaps Huntington Disease and Cystic Fibrosis. There is always some environmental factor that puts one on the path to schizophrenia, most often very early in life. Environment acting on the genes.

    There is a very interesting chapter on this in Siddharta Mukherjee’s excellent book, “Gene.” He has schizophrenia in the family.

    That is my last word on this. Thank you for the discussion.


    1. And your last word won’t be your last word. . And you clearly are still holding fast to your prejudices. We still do not know enough and that includes you.


  2. The argument that trauma causes sz. should have been put to rest with WHO study that included Jews who survived the holocaust. Everyone was surprised (including WHO researchers) by fact that there were no elevated rates of Sz in this *incredibly and horribly traumatized population.

    Enough of these dusty old leftover theories of Freud, RD Laing et al.


    Liked by 1 person

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