Funzing Talks | Are Normal People Sane?
- 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL
Traditionally, schizophrenia was regarded as a discrete psychotic disease. However recent studies show that up to 10% of the general population have minor psychotic symptoms such as paranoid ideas, or hear voices, or believe that other people are interfering with their thoughts. Thus, schizophrenia represents the extreme end of a continuum of psychosis which stretches into the general population.
Furthermore, the same factors that increase the risk of schizophrenia also increase the risk of individuals experiencing minor psychotic symptoms. For example, people living in the inner city have more psychotic experiences than those living in the country; the experience of abuse in childhood increases the occurrence of “voices” in people who never seek professional help; frequent cannabis use increases the risk of both minor psychotic experiences and schizophrenia. So psychiatrists now consider that the “mad” are often quite sensible while so-called “normal” people are often irrational.
The philosopher Friedrich Nietzche wrote, “Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs, it is the rule”. To what extent are disputes between nations driven by paranoid misinterpretation of the motives of the “enemy”. How often have politicians’ reckless policies been the result of the drug use? Are gang or religious wars delusional? Is anti-immigrant feeling idue to irrational fears of “the other”?
Robin Murray is Professor of Psychiatric Research at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, Kings College, and indeed has spent most of his working life there apart from one year at NIMH in the USA; fortunately, the latter did him relatively little harm. His particular interest is in psychosis. He was one of the first to suggest that schizophrenia was in part a neurodevelopmental disorder, and he and his colleagues have contributed to the understanding that environmental factors such as obstetric events, drug abuse, and social adversity dysregulate striatal dopamine and thus increase the risk of psychosis; he is currently most interested in gene-environmental interactions. He is also involved in testing new treatments for psychotic illnesses and cares for people with psychosis at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. He has written over 800 articles, not all of them boring! He is the most frequently cited psychosis researcher outside the USA, has supervised 72 PhDs and 12 MD Theses, and 40 of his students have become full professors. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2010 and received a knighthood in 2011.
Venue: Cafe 1001, Bricklane
Doors: 7pm / Talk starts: 7.30pm.
*Please see venue website for admission (age restrictions) or accessibility information. Our talks may be filmed for promotional purposes.
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