A simple neurological exam showed Torrey that schizophrenics suffered from more than just mental disturbances. They often had trouble doing standard inebriation tests, like walking a straight line heel to toe. If Torrey simultaneously touched their face and hand while their eyes were closed, they often did not register being touched in two places.
Schizophrenics also showed signs of inflammation in their infection-fighting white blood cells. If you look at the blood of people with schizophrenia, Torrey says, there are too many odd-looking lymphocytes, the kind that you find in mononucleosis. And when he performed CAT scans on pairs of identical twins with and without the diseaseincluding Steven and David Elmorehe saw that schizophrenics brains had less tissue and larger fluid-filled ventricles.
Subsequent studies confirmed those oddities. Many schizophrenics show chronic inflammation and lose brain tissue over time, and these changes correlate with the severity of their symptoms. These things convinced me that this is a brain disease, Torrey says, not a psychological problem.
Torrey wondered if the moment of infection might in fact have occurred during early childhood. If schizophrenia was sparked by a disease that was more common during winter and early spring, that could explain the birth-month effect.
You’re very welcome.