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something to read

Paul Bermanzohn bermanzo at aecom.yu.edu
Tue Jan 30 22:44:58 EST 1996


Dear Theresa:
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 
thing.

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though it was written in 1981, and is in some respects outdated, I 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!




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