National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Scientific Research

November 13, 2008

The New York Times reports that a new theory of brain development may provide greater understanding of the biology behind mental illness.

Doctors Bernard Crespi and Christopher Badcock propose that the competing influence of paternal and maternal genes may determine where a child’s developing brain falls in what they call the psychotic spectrum.

This spectrum would include most, if not all, psychiatric and developmental brain disorders. For example, a strong bias towards the father may move a developing brain along the autism spectrum, while greater maternal influence may move a developing brain to the opposite end of the spectrum, which includes illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia.