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The incidence and prevalence of schizophrenia in the Republic of Ireland.

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Neuropsychology Service, Boston City Hospital.


For the last century scientists have attempted to demonstrate high rates of insanity among the Irish. Recent prevalence studies of schizophrenia claim that there is indeed a greater number of cases in the west of Ireland than in other parts of the world. Cultural and genetic hypotheses have been advanced to explain these figures without a critical examination of the studies at the basis of this claim. The relevant underlying research and the resulting hypotheses are reviewed to show that their conclusions are equivocal and ungeneralizable. This is most often due to the method of case collection and inconclusive cross-cultural comparisons. It is hoped that Ireland will not henceforth be considered a high prevalence area for schizophrenia without more reliable research in this topic.

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