Summarizing all available evidence on the etiology of schizophrenia, Walker et al. (2004) reached the conclusion that both genetic (inherited) and prenatal (before birth) factors can give rise to a vulnerability to schizophrenia. The subsequent processes, which affect the development of neurons in the brain, especially those that occur during adolescence and exposure to stressful events, can trigger the behavioral expression of this vulnerability. Walker and colleagues point out that the etiology of schizophrenia involves the interaction among vulnerabilities within the brain and environmental factors. The illness does not emerge from a single defect in a specific brain region but rather from the dysfunction of neuronal circuits in multiple brain regions. The brain's maturational processes play a critical role.
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