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Invited Commentary
July 2018

Urbanicity and Risk of Schizophrenia—New Studies and Old Hypotheses

Author Affiliations
  • 1National Centre for Register-Based Research, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus, Denmark
  • 2iPSYCH, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, Aarhus, Denmark
  • 3Centre for Integrated Register-based Research, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
  • 4Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia
  • 5Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, The Park Centre for Mental Health, Wacol, Australia
JAMA Psychiatry. 2018;75(7):687-688. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.0551

Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day.

Bertrand Russell, Skeptical Essays, 19381(p28)

Studies from Nordic and northern European countries have reported an increased risk of schizophrenia in those who are born or raised in urban settings.2 Clearly, urbanicity (usually defined as population density per square kilometer) is a proxy indicator for exposures that have not yet been identified and that are more or less prevalent in urban vs rural settings. Schizophrenia research cannot afford to ignore important clues like this, but the precise nature of the factors responsible for this association remains elusive.

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