Jay Joseph, PhD has posted an interesting piece: “Five Decades of Gene Finding Failures in Psychiatry” on Mad in America (Robert Whitaker’s site). It is well worth a read. The general content of the article is clear from the title.
Here are some quotes:
“Two generations of molecular genetic researchers have attempted, yet failed, to discover the genes that they believe underlie the major psychiatric disorders.”
“Despite the sequencing of the human genome and the publication of more than 1,700 schizophrenia molecular genetic studies, we have witnessed over 40 years of gene finding claims, and over 40 years of subsequently non-replicated findings.”
“…the familial, social, and political causes of psychiatric conditions must become the focus of attention.”
Dr. Joseph draws a nice analogy between “mental illnesses” and concussion injuries among football players. Both conditions are the result of environmental influences, but nobody is suggesting that we need to explore for genetically-based brain disease in brain-damaged NFL players.
Dr. Joseph also quotes from highly credentialed science writer John Horgan:
“Over the past 15 years or so, researchers have announced the discovery of ‘genes for’ attention-deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, manic depression, schizophrenia, autism, dyslexia, alcoholism, heroin addiction, high IQ, male homosexuality, sadness, extroversion, introversion, novelty seeking, impulsivity, violent aggression, anxiety, anorexia, seasonal affective disorder, and pathological gambling. So far, not one of those claims has been confirmed.”
This is a particularly important article because the false notion that “mental illnesses” are genetically caused brain diseases has been widely promoted by psychiatrists and by the media.