Mysteries of the Mind: The series

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Every day, we are reminded of a mental disorder that affects our society.

Yet another mass shooting rips lives apart, and often the gunman has a history of mental illness. News reports document another athlete whose life has crumbled after repeated blows to the head.

A new statistical study raises the odds of a child being born with autism, or television commercials show depressed people barely able to get out of bed. And each month, there seems to be a new type of phobia to report.

They all have one thing in common: deep-rooted defects in the function of the brain that scientists are just beginning to understand.

Over the next year, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will explore five of these brain disorders: schizophrenia; chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- a form of brain deterioration affecting athletes and soldiers; autism; depression and phobias.


In today's opening of "Mysteries of the Mind," we focus on perhaps the most stigmatizing illness of all -- schizophrenia -- which involves hallucinations, delusions and cognitive deterioration. It can mean a lifetime of dependency for patients -- and in rare cases, it leads to frightening outbursts of violence.


Many researchers believe the most important symptom to tackle when dealing with schizophrenia is the cognitive challenges.


People with schizophrenia are more violent than others, but mass shootings are extraordinarily rare.



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