The biological basis of schizophrenia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The term “schizophrenia” is coined from the Greek “schizein” (to split) and “phren” (mind), meaning the loss of mental associations within the mind. Studies of the incidence of schizophrenia within families have suggested that schizophrenia might have a heritable component. The closer the biological relationship among family members, the higher the incidence of schizophrenia becomes. There is a relationship between social class and the incidence of schizophrenia, although it is not a linear relationship; the incidence of schizophrenia is twice as high in the very lowest social classes as in the highest. There is a general belief that psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia, are caused by the malfunctioning of brains. To account for some or all of the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia, a number of different classes of brain disorders have been proposed, including those involving structural changes in the brain, those accompanied by neurochemical changes in the brain, and those associated with the abnormal development of the brain. One of the most marked features of schizophrenia is that the typical time of onset is late adolescence/early adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrinciples of Medical Biology
EditorsE Edward Bittar, Neville Bittar
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherJAI Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)978-1-55938-819-1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2000

Publication series

NamePrinciples of Medical Biology
ISSN (Print)1569-2582


  • schizophonia
  • psychiatric illness
  • neurochemical brain changes


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