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Could diet cause psychosis?

Vol. 9, No. 3 / March 2010

To add to Dr. Nasrallah’s New Year’s resolutions (“New Year’s resolutions to help our patients,” From the Editor, Current Psychiatry, January 2010), I suggest some fresh, out-of-the-box thinking about the basic causes of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. It strikes me that 52 years ago, before I graduated from medical school, we knew that heart attacks, strokes, and many common cancers—breast, prostate, colon, etc.—were caused by our high-fat diet. We received no advice then or since about changing to a completely different diet. I wonder if it’s possible that our epidemic of psychoses also might be caused by the miserable diet we feed ourselves and our children. In the psychiatric literature, I have not seen a good comparison study of populations who follow a different diet. In Prevent and reverse heart disease, Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., MD, of the Cleveland Clinic states that in the genesis of heart disease “diet trumps genetics.” I wonder, is the brain any different?

James M. Donahue, MD
Indianapolis, IN

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