The future exists today. It’s just unevenly distributed

If you were wondering where it had got to, it looks like the annual ‘brain scan predicts schizophrenia’ story has arrived. If you’re feeling a bit nostalgic, have a look back at some past classics.

It’s not that these studies don’t show any predictive value of brain scans, but so far, none have proved reliable enough to be even slightly useful in clinical practice.

It’s also likely that brain scans will never predict schizophrenia 100%, because the evidence suggests that schizophrenia isn’t a single cut-and-dry condition, like the flu or arthritis – it’s just a vaguely described set of experiences that tend to occur together and often cause the person distress or impairment.

In fact, two people could have schizophrenia and not share any symptoms. In other words, there’s little that’s definitive and definite to predict.

Now, if only brain scans could predict when journalists will write a ‘brain scans predict’ article, then we might be able to intervene with the appropriate help.

UPDATE: There’s some good comments on this post, and CopperKettle has provided a link to the full paper.

Link to BBC News story “Scans ‘can predict schizophrenia'”.

4 Comments

  1. Posted December 8, 2006 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    Here’s the link to the published paper:
    “Grey matter changes can improve the prediction of schizophrenia in subjects at high risk”

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/4/29/abstract

    P.S. Yes, probably scans will not predict the illness with a full certainty but rather help separate in into sub-categories, improving our knowledge about the underlying pathology. I see this as a positive contribution.
    Spare the journalists, they cannot be specialists in every branch of science, because these branches become longer and more branchy day by day.
    (0:

  2. Posted December 8, 2006 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    I’ve come to believe most mental (and other) diseases have a combination of causes. One may have the physical predisposition to a disease, but if other conditions (stress, anxiety) aren’t present, the disease doesn’t develop.
    I think there is genetic predisposition, environmental cause, and a “trigger” event that create mental illness – something that finally pushes the person to the edge.

  3. LowLifeChamp
    Posted December 8, 2006 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Actually, arthritis is a bad contrast there. There are dozens of forms of it, with wide varieties of related symptoms and etiologies. In that way, “arthritis” is as heterogeneous as “headache,” which could be a migraine, a tumor, etc. It’s probably more like what you are suggesting of schizophrenia than malaria or Huntington’s Disease, which are fairly cut and dry.

  4. Kschltr
    Posted January 7, 2007 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    SOYTENLY the FUTURE EXISTS TODAY. I have made the same statement with regard to the inequitable distribution of the associative data which is fed both forward and in reverse in our information field. When one spends too much time tracking/projecting one’s own future course out of realtime and inside of one’s own virtual holodeck, otherwise known as a “NOGGIN”, cognitive dissonance generates overlays which are then multiplied, in some cases quite exponentially, by our associative memory storage and unfortunate propensity to mull over, agonize about, perseverate and obsess upon our fears with regard to such projections/prophecies or brain farts.
    At my local Sam Ash Music Store, hanging on the wall by the Guitar Repair Shop is a banner which states, WE KNOW WANT YOU WANT – WE HAVE ESP!!!
    I asked the Manager; “You have that shit too?” So do I and it really sucks when you know what’s gonna happen all of the time, OR THINK YOU DO, and you know it’s gonna blow dude…”
    Of course, having ESP wouldn’t be so bad if everyone else didn’t have some of that shit too. The real problem comes in when totally rude SADISTIC assholes with ESP know the future, know what YOU want, and then “F” it up for ya just because they can.
    Those would be the “EVIL” minions of Santa’s alter ego, SATAN. They try to coopt ya with deals made on the dark side and favors or booty produced by slave labor who are into animals with split hooves (Reindeer) and work without any union contracts, benefits, or pensions. Most folks think that both Satan AND Santa are using Child Labor illegally in their sweatshops which sort of mirror each other, like those autistic mirror neurons, but they keep saying that their elves or dwarfs, or “LITTLE PEOPLE”.
    Could be how that nasty paranoia get generated from OCD, PTSD, Freudian Double Binds which generate too much “CONFLICT” and Cognitive DISSONANCE in little minds which are hooked up to HOME BASED BRAIN STIMULATORS… Formerly Televisions, presently the INTERNET.
    But consider who designed the original INTERNET anyway? Right, my old employers, THE US Navy, DOD, and the CIA back in the 1950s shortly after ENIAC became the oversized pocket calculator of paranoid scenario producing tactical and strategic research types. I used to be one of those too, but I got better. A little better. I became a Psych RN… Go figure. So, I can help fix yer noggin or scare the shit out of you afrter having done years of weapons and strategic research support in Ops/Admin/Weapons Security etc…


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