Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Book Hidden Valley Road reveals cause?

I am reading a new book called Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker. It’s about a family with 12 children and 6 of them had Schizophrenia. It tells their story and the stories of the different research studies done over the decade. It’s come to light that it seems to be from a deficiency in Choline in a fetus brain and they have approval to increase the choline in prenatal vitamins. That helps avoid future cases. It helps relieve some folks from guilt who might be thinking they caused it. Originally it was a Nature vs Nurture debate mostly seemed to blame the mom for being a bad parent. Glad they cleared that up!

There is more work to do to help those who have it already but we can encourage women to get early prenatal care and stop the suffering over this issue.

I’m not telling my grandson because he might get upset since there is no cure for him but it tells me people in the scientific field have not given up on finding a cure.

Thoughts? Comments? The author stated that research has targeted some genes for autism and bipolar as well so there is hope for a lot of people out there.

I don’t mean to be flip, but if I had 12 kids and 6 of them turned out to have SZ, I’d invest in some birth control before taking neonatal supplements. I’m childless as a moral choice, and this only reinforces how heritable the disease can be.

Choline is an interesting choice to me, because when I was in college and in my prodrome and having difficulty maintaining focus, I had looked into supplements and discussed choline with a friend of mine who was a biochemist and geneticist. I even bought a bottle and took it for a while, but didn’t see much improvement.


What your describing goes along with the MTHFR Gene Mutation. With this mutaion there is a deficiency in folate & choline and some other vit . You can be tested for this and what is usually prescribed is a methylated b vitamins and life stlye changes. They say 30 to 40% of the population has this mutions some have it and show no signs of MI and some do show extreme signs such as in BP and SZ and autism.

The story remeinds me of a family I went to High school with.( Catholic ) 6 girls and 4 developed SZ in their late 20’s. My friend who was the youngest of them developed it after her 2nd child was born. She was around 24. She was pretty sick for many years but at around the age of 40 she found the right medication mix and started taking better care of herself and is doing very well now. Her daughters (she has 3) have not shown any signs of sz but she does worries about them.

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Id like to read this book!

Interesting thread and posts here. I’m going to look for the book. MB, my MI partner’s youngest brother has chosen also never to have kids on moral grounds.(my partner is one of 7. All other siblings average 2.5 kids. One has 5). He himself suffers BP but is FULLY aware and always has been and practices exemplary self-care (better than me at this point I’d say! :joy:) It’s a little bit unclear as to wether their mother may have had some form of MI as she’s been passed away for more than 15 yrs and I never knew her, but some of the information and history I’ve been able to gather suggests a strong possibility.
My own brother, though nobody was able to diagnose as kids and even into early adulthood, now is very likely to be in the autism spectrum with a mild manifestation of aspergers. Genius IQ, he’s the first person to tell you that it’s more than likely. My own mother seems to have gotten away with seeing angels and living in delusional fantasies most of her life just fine, but wether or not that has more to do with isolation or religious fanaticism, who knows. Her youngest sister ended up getting her doctorate in psychology later in life, and has since discussed choline when I’ve run broad hypothetical questions by her (though we both know we are talking about my partner). I’d like to know if anybody else has any more first hand experience wit it here, and I’ll keep researching…


I’m halfway through that book, and it is an interesting read. There’s no doubt there is a genetic, heritable component to this disease. The book (so far) is suggesting that a precipitating traumatic event is also necessary (tw for abuse in the story). If that is so, I have wracked my brain for what that event would be for my daughter. The best I can come up with is that she really, really resented the birth of a sibling. I believe that it is quite probable that the illness is present in some way long before it becomes apparent and diagnosable. The big question is how to screen and treat to prevent in susceptible individuals, or at the very least minimize the effects. OK, off to carry on reading!

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I’ve run into this as well, the “precipitating traumatic event” theory…
it seems plausible in a number of sz cases I’ve personally encountered.

There was no mental illness in our family except that my aunt had epilepsy. Is there a genetic link between epilepsy and schizophrenia in my daughter?