Schizophrenia: A Brother Finds Answers in Biological Science

Schizophrenia: A Brother Finds Answers in Biological Science

by Ronald Chase
Schizophrenia: A Brother Finds Answers in Biological Science

Schizophrenia: A Brother Finds Answers in Biological Science

by Ronald Chase

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Overview

A neuroscientist explores the biological bases of schizophrenia and tells the heartbreaking story of his own brother’s battle with the disease.

Honorable Mention for the AMWA Medical Book Awards of the American Medical Writers Association

When bright lives are derailed by schizophrenia, bewildered and anxious families struggle to help, and to cope, even as scientists search for causes and treatments that prove elusive. Painful and often misunderstood, schizophrenia profoundly affects people who have the disease and their loved ones. Here Ronald Chase, an accomplished biologist, sets out to discover the facts about the disease and better understand what happened to his older brother, Jim, who developed schizophrenia as a young adult.

Chase’s account alternates between a fiercely loyal and honest memoir and rigorous scientific exploration. He finds scientific answers to deeply personal questions about the course of his brother’s illness. He describes psychiatric practice from the 1950s—when electroconvulsive shock therapy was common and the use of antipsychotic medications was in its infancy—to the development of newer treatments in the 1990s. Current medical and scientific research increases our understanding of genetic and environmental causes of the disease .

Chase also explores the stigma of mental illness, the evolution of schizophrenia, the paradox of its persistence despite low reproduction rates in persons with the disease, and the human stories behind death statistics. With the author’s intimate knowledge of the suffering caused by this disease, Schizophrenia emphasizes research strategies, the importance of sound scientific approaches, and the challenges that remain.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421410913
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 10/07/2013
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Ronald Chase is a professor emeritus of biology at McGill University. He is author of The Physical Basis of Mental Illness, Behavior and Its Neural Control in Gastropod Molluscs and The Making of Modern Psychiatry.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue 1

1 Innocence on the Road to Los Angeles (1948) 6

2 Who Gets Schizophrenia and Why? 14

3 Dining with Tension (1956) 22

4 Which Genes Cause Schizophrenia? 29

5 A Consultation with Dr. Held (1957) 40

6 Which Aspects of the Environment Cause Schizophrenia? 48

7 Breakdown in Westwood Village (1958) 56

8 Why Does Schizophrenia Begin in Late Adolescence? 62

9 Two State Hospitals (1959-1960) 73

10 What Are the Treatment Options? 80

11 A Conversation in a Park (1963) 90

12 Is Mental Illness in the Mind or in the Brain? 96

13 The Villa and the Ambassador (1982) 110

14 Why Is Schizophrenia Stigmatized? 117

15 Strolling the Boardwalk at Hermosa Beach (1993) 125

16 Just What Is Schizophrenia, Anyway? 133

17 Libraries and Literature (1995) 144

18 When Did Schizophrenia First Appear, and Why Doesn't It Go Away? 153

19 Jim's Final Days (1998-1999) 165

20 What Happens to People with Schizophrenia through the Years? 173

21 Reflections 181

Epilogue 184

Notes 189

Glossary 201

Suggested Readings 207

Index 211

What People are Saying About This

Akira Sawa

Schizophrenia is a physical disorder mainly affecting the brain and profoundly afflicting life as a human being. In this book—a perspective on hope for the future—Ronald Chase elegantly interweaves a subjective family story of his brother’s life with schizophrenia and an objective review of the scientific literature on this condition.

Francis Mark Mondimore

I do not know of another book that gives an account of the course of schizophrenia across an entire lifetime. Chase's technique of alternating chapters between the science and the personal to tell the story of his brother's illness uniquely melds two equally important but very different perspectives on this terrible illness. The result is a book that is compelling, heartbreaking, and hopeful all at the same time.

Irving I. Gottesman

Many scientists and physicians could have written this extraordinarily insightful book, but few choose to share their compassion and anguish for their brothers who have experienced schizophrenia. Ronald Chase describes his efforts to understand an un-understandable brain disease in a way that compels the reader to join him in a plea for more research and less stigma.

From the Publisher

I do not know of another book that gives an account of the course of schizophrenia across an entire lifetime. Chase's technique of alternating chapters between the science and the personal to tell the story of his brother's illness uniquely melds two equally important but very different perspectives on this terrible illness. The result is a book that is compelling, heartbreaking, and hopeful all at the same time.
—Francis Mark Mondimore, M.D., Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and author of Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families

Dr. Chase asks the fundamental questions about schizophrenia and, in exceptionally clear language, explains the technical obstacles to answering them. The chapters about his brother are poignant, often achingly so, making it clear why answers are needed so urgently.
—Andrew Shaner, M.D., author of Overcoming Addictions: Skills Training for People with Schizophrenia

Many scientists and physicians could have written this extraordinarily insightful book, but few choose to share their compassion and anguish for their brothers who have experienced schizophrenia. Ronald Chase describes his efforts to understand an un-understandable brain disease in a way that compels the reader to join him in a plea for more research and less stigma.
—Irving I. Gottesman, author of Schizophrenia Genesis: The Origins of Madness

Schizophrenia is a physical disorder mainly affecting the brain and profoundly afflicting life as a human being. In this book—a perspective on hope for the future—Ronald Chase elegantly interweaves a subjective family story of his brother’s life with schizophrenia and an objective review of the scientific literature on this condition.
—Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D., Director and Professor, Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center, Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Andrew Shaner

Dr. Chase asks the fundamental questions about schizophrenia and, in exceptionally clear language, explains the technical obstacles to answering them. The chapters about his brother are poignant, often achingly so, making it clear why answers are needed so urgently.

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