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Prophets, Cults and Madness

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 17 March 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:680
  1. Trevor Turner, consultant psychiatrist
  1. Homerton Hospital, London

    Anthony Stevens, John Price

    Duckworth, £18, pp 256

    ISBN 0 7156 2940 9

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    Schizophrenia is puzzling. The strong influence of genetics in its aetiology is not a sufficient and full explanation of why some people become hallucinated, deluded, disordered in thinking, and socially excluded. Its lifetime prevalence, just under 1% worldwide, is also unusual. The question of whether there might be some evolutionary advantage from the condition has therefore led to an increasingly influential evolutionary psychiatry. Stevens and Price are admirably qualified in this respect, and they have chosen cult leaders as the focus …

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