Footprints of Schizophrenia

The Evolutionary Roots of Mental Illness

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Published by: Prometheus
Release Date: December 12, 2023
Pages: 256
ISBN13: 978-1633889286


“Each new variety and ultimately each new species is produced and maintained by having some advantage over those with which it comes into competition; and the consequent extinction of the less favored forms almost inevitably follows.”
Charles Darwin

Whether you believe in creationism or Darwinism, the following formula seems nearly inevitable: protoplasm + mutation x time = human. What does that mean? Living matter (protoplasm) progresses by random error or mutation. That helical molecule called DNA that regulates the construction and functioning of cells and ultimately, our bodies as phenotypes screws up with the help of what we call entropy, the tendency for disorder. Thankfully. For without those blessed mistakes, the changes that modify which proteins cells manufacture would not happen. But those mutations that impede the reproduction and function of the organism must rapidly become extinct.

The central paradox of schizophrenia asks why it is not extinct. To understand this we must dig deeper and go beyond theories that rely on mere genetic explanations alone. In this book Dr. Lesk calls on such diverse fields as anthropology, language theory, neurochemistry, evolution and even the second law of thermodynamics to weave together a convincing, thorough and lucid synthesis.


“In this provocative debut, psychiatrist Lesk excavates the origins of schizophrenia and outlines possible treatments for it and other dopamine-related mental illnesses... [T]his is a fascinating study that never sacrifices complexity or interest, and a welcome resource for those eager to learn more about the disease and its roots.”
Publishers Weekly