A big problem in neuroscience is the growing disparity between
high-powered technology and basic descriptions of clinical phenomena.
This is especially true in psychiatry, where a lot of research on such
clinical disorders as schizophrenia suffers from an excessive impulse to
measure things without really knowing exactly what we are measuring.
Clinical descriptions of what we think we are studying often lag behind
the powerful methods we have to study them. For example, much of the work
investigating the causes and treatment of schizophrenia assume
schizophrenia is just 1 single, unitary thing. Yet three is a lot of
reaon to believe "it" is a complex of disorders, just as cancer is not 1
A good, understandable author to read (in contrast to this letter which
may be obscure) is John S. Strauss. He wrote an outstanding book called
"Schizophrenia", with William T. Carpenter, the second author. Even
though it was written in 1981, and is in some respects outdated, I
believe it is still the most lucid little book written on how to approach
this complex clinical problem. They say it is necessary to study all
kinds of phenomena which might be relevant to understanding
schizophrenia, including psychological factors. This is a healthy
antidote to the idea that schizophrenia is purely a neurobiological
phenomenon. Strauss' work, available by looking him up in the Index
Medicus, has continued in this productive vein since 1981, and his recent
stuff is of the same high quality, and understandable!