The study by St Clair et al1 in this
issue of JAMA reports an association between prenatal
exposure to severe maternal nutritional deficiency and risk for schizophrenia
in adulthood. Examination of this question was achieved through strategic
use of the Chinese famine of 1959 through 1961 as the fulcrum of their study
design. In so doing, these authors afford yet another excellent example, frequent
among articles in the annual JAMA theme issue on
violence and human rights, of epidemiologists extracting otherwise inaccessible
scientific knowledge from the harsh soil of human catastrophe.
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