A really neat article from Scientific American caught my eye the other day. It noted that while certain mental illnesses could be, for lack of a better term, seen in animals, schizophrenia seems to have been a consequence of the evolution of the human brain. Excerpt:
But there’s at least one mental malady that, while common in humans, seems to have spared all other animals: schizophrenia. Though psychotic animals may exist, psychosis has never been observed outside of our own species; whereas depression, OCD, and anxiety traits have been reported in many non-human species. This begs the question of why such a potentially devastating, often lethal disease—which we now know is heavily genetic, thanks to some genomically homogenous Icelanders and plenty of other recent research—is still hanging around when it would seem that genes predisposing to psychosis would have been strongly selected against. A new study provides clues into how the potential for schizophrenia may have arisen in the human brain and, in doing so, suggests possible treatment targets. It turns out psychosis may be an unfortunate cost of our big brains—of higher, complex cognition.
I thought it was interesting, so I am hoping that the readers of the blog might think so too!