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November 21, 1990

Epidemiology Indicates a Disorder That Assaults Much of Patients' 'Humanness' in Prime of Life

JAMA. 1990;264(19):2487. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450190017004

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IT IS estimated variously that 2 million to 4 million persons presently alive in this country will develop schizophrenia.

That point usually is late adolescence or early adulthood. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville, Md, schizophrenia is about 50 times more likely to develop in the late teens or 20s than in childhood (when it appears to be more common in boys) and the initial diagnosis rarely is made in those younger than 4 years.

At whatever age the disease is recognized, the institute's acting deputy director, Samuel J. Keith, MD, told the Laureate—University of Oklahoma symposium in Tulsa (please see accompanying article), schizophrenia continues to be a more common diagnosis than Huntington's disease (80 ×), muscular dystrophy (60 ×), insulin-dependent diabetes (6 × ), or multiple sclerosis (5 × ). In young adults, it is diagnosed with about equal frequency in women and men, has not been found