Neuroscientist Ronald Chase, PhD has a keen interest in schizophrenia because of a personal experience with a family member who suffered from the illness. When growing up in West Los Angeles, his older brother, Jim, developed schizophrenia as a young adult. The illness severely impacted Jim’s life and had an indelible impact on Ronald and his parents. Jim’s illness was a major motivating factor for Ronald’s career change. He abandoned his training at Harvard Law School and subsequently pursued a course in the biological sciences.
Schizophrenia is a book written for anyone touched by the disease. Dr. Chase asserts that it is not a scientific text for healthcare professionals; however, in my opinion, the book is informative for them as well. Schizophrenia is currently a condition that holds many more questions than answers. The book has an interesting format that facilitates the understanding of what is known—and not known -- about schizophrenia. Informative chapters containing scientific material are alternate with a chronicle of Jim Chase’s tragic life. Jim transitioned from an intelligent a gifted UCLA graduate student to a seriously ill man who required constant antipsychotic medication. He shuffled through a succession of board-and-care facilities and psychiatric hospitals throughout Los Angeles as his condition either improved or worsened. Each scientific chapter contains a summary at the end, which provides a bulleted list of important points. The book is a must-read for anyone who has a loved one suffering from schizophrenia.
Dr. Chase is a professor emeritus of biology at McGill University. He is author of The Physical Basis of Mental Illness, and Behavior and Its Neural Control in Gastropod Molluscs.