World Health Organization
- Mental Health, Resilience and Inequalities, by
Dr. Lynne Friedli, World Health Organization, 2009.
- J. Leff, "The International Pilot Study of Schizophrenia: five-year
follow-up findings," Psychological Medicine, 22 (1992), 131-145. The first World Health Organization study that compared schizophrenia
outcomes in "developed" and "developing" countries was
called The International Pilot Study of Schizophrenia. It began in 1968, and
involved 1202 patients in nine countries. At both two-year and five-year
follow-ups, the patients in the poor countries were doing much better. The researchers
concluded that schizophrenia patients in the poor countries "had a
considerably better course and outcome than (patients) in developed countries.
This remained true whether clinical outcomes, social outcomes, or a combination
of the two was considered." Two-thirds of the patients in India
were asymptomatic at the end of five years. The WHO investigators, however,
were unable to identify a variable that explained this notable difference in
outcomes. SEE PAGES 132, 142, 143.
- Assen Jablensky, "Schizophrenia: manifestations, incidence and
course in different cultures, A World Health Organization ten-country
study," Psychological Medicine, suppl. 20 (1992), 1-95. [Note:
at least the last page is missing] The second WHO organization study of this type was called the Determinants
of Outcome of Severe Mental Disorders. It involved 1379 patients from 10
countries, and was designed as a follow-up study to the International Pilot
Study of Schizophrenia. The patients in this study were first-episode patients,
and 86% had been ill fewer than 12 months. This study confirmed the findings of
the first: two-year outcomes were much better for the patients in the poor
countries. In broad terms, 37 percent of the patients in the poor countries (India,
Nigeria and Colombia)
had a single psychotic episode and then fully recovered; another 26.7% of the
patients in the poor countries had two or more psychotic episodes but still
were in "complete remission" at the end of the two years. In other
words, 63.7% of the patients in the poor countries were doing fairly well at
the end of two years. In contrast, only 36.9% of the patients in the U.S.
and six other developed countries were doing fairly well at the end of two
years. The researchers concluded that "being in a developed country was a
strong predictor of not attaining a complete remission."
Although the WHO researchers didn't identify a variable that would explain
this difference in outcomes, they did note that in the developing countries,
only 15.9% of patients were continuously maintained on neuroleptics, compared
to 61% of patients in the U.S. and other developed countries. This difference
in outcomes is also consistent with research in the U.S.
showing that neuroleptics induce brain changes that make people more
biologically prone to psychosis. One would expect that drugs that induced such
changes would lead to increased chronic illness, and the failure of most
patients to attain a complete remission.
See, Table 4.10 page 64 and page
90. [Table 9.1 from Mad in America reproduced
because of quality in original]
- Also see, "Culture and Schizophrenia: Criticisms of WHO studies are answered,"
by A. Jablensky, N. Sartorius, J.E. Cooper, M. Anker, A. Korten and A. Bertelsen,
British Journal of Psychiatry (1994) 165, 434-436.
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