Friday, August 1, 2014

Raymond’s press letter to TODAY Newspaper: Schizophrenia research will lead to better treatments

My letter on the above subject was published in MediaCorp’s TODAY newspaper on Wednesday 30th July 2014.

The report “Researchers shed new light on schizophrenia” (July 23) stated that researchers from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) had identified genetic markers that would enable better and early identification of those who might develop schizophrenia.

In the long run, this will pave the way for scientists to develop better treatments, which is most encouraging for schizophrenia sufferers and their families.
If mental illness does not hit one generation, it may hit the next. My late wife battled schizophrenia for 44 years and suffered 14 relapses; her parents did not have mental illness, but her maternal grandmother did.
There are also trigger factors that can cause a mental breakdown. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh claim to have discovered why some people are more prone to suffering from stress than others: They shared their mother’s stress while in the womb.
My wife’s mother and grandmother lived through the Japanese Occupation. While she was born eight years later, whenever she suffered a relapse of her schizophrenia, she believed a war was taking place and would become very frightened.
Many people do not realise prolonged war, a succession of natural catastrophes, terrorism and even epidemics have triggered traumas that are difficult to cure. During the SARS period, my wife suffered a serious relapse and took nine months to recover.
Carers of schizophrenia sufferers can give an insightful peek into the condition. To this end, to further develop their research, the team from IMH and GIS can interview seasoned carers, whose valuable experience can make a healthy contribution.


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