I hate science

Is there an association between the use of heeled footwear and schizophrenia?
Jarl Flensmark
Medical Hypotheses
Volume 63, Issue 4, 2004, Pages 740-747

Abstract:

Existing etiological and pathogenetical theories of schizophrenia have only been able to find support in some epidemiological, clinical, and pathophysiological facts. A selective literature review and synthesis is used to present a hypothesis that finds support in all facts and is contradicted by none.

Heeled footwear began to be used more than a 1000 years ago, and led to the occurrence of the first cases of schizophrenia. Industrialization of shoe production increased schizophrenia prevalence. Mechanization of the production started in Massachusetts, spread from there to England and Germany, and then to the rest of Western Europe. A remarkable increase in schizophrenia prevalence followed the same pattern. In Baden in Germany the increasing stream of young patients more or less hastily progrediating to a severe state of cognitive impairment made it possible for Kraepelin to delineate dementia praecox as a nosological entity. The patients continued to use heeled shoes after they were admitted to the hospitals and the disease progrediated.

High rates of schizophrenia are found among first-generation immigrants from regions with a warmer climate to regions with a colder climate, where the use of shoes is more common. Still higher rates among second-generation immigrants are caused by the use of shoes during the onset of walking at an age of about 11–12 months. Other findings point to the importance of this in the later development of schizophrenia. A child born in January–March begins to walk in December–March, when it’s cold outside and the chances of going barefoot are smaller. They are also smaller in urban settings.

During walking synchronised stimuli from mechanoreceptors in the lower extremities increase activity in cerebello-thalamo-cortico-cerebellar loops through their action on NMDA-receptors. Using heeled shoes leads to weaker stimulation of the loops. Reduced cortical activity changes dopaminergic function which involves the basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical-nigro-basal ganglia loops. Bicycle riding reduces depression in schizophrenia due to stronger stimulation by improved lengthening contractions of the triceps surae muscles. Electrode stimulation of cerebellar loops normally stimulated by mechanoreceptors in the lower extremities could improve functioning in schizophrenia.

Cross-sectional prevalence studies of the association between the use of heeled footwear and schizophrenia should be made in immigrants from regions with a warmer climate or in groups of people who began to wear shoes at different ages.

14 thoughts on “I hate science

  1. steadyhabits

    Can we infer from this that the higher the heel the greater the cognitive impairment?

  2. steadyhabits

    Can we infer from this that the higher the heel the greater the cognitive impairment?

  3. Burbot

    This is an amusing satire on the the way statistics are used/misused in science. Very funny. I would like to point out that during my childhood in Alabama I went barefoot over half the time from the age of 6 to 16, so I don’t buy this theory because I have been schizoaffective for many years. I would, however, like to draw attention to the statistician who drowned while wading in a river with an average depth of three feet.

  4. Burbot

    This is an amusing satire on the the way statistics are used/misused in science. Very funny.
    I would like to point out that during my childhood in Alabama I went barefoot over half the time from the age of 6 to 16, so I don’t buy this theory because I have been schizoaffective for many years.
    I would, however, like to draw attention to the statistician who drowned while wading in a river with an average depth of three feet.

  5. Panj

    Convincing medispeak. It sounds like the approach some so called nutritionists and alternative medicne pedlars use. It is a reminder to us all to always ask – “Show me the evidence.”panj (UK)

  6. Panj

    Convincing medispeak. It sounds like the approach some so called nutritionists and alternative medicne pedlars use. It is a reminder to us all to always ask – “Show me the evidence.”

    panj (UK)

  7. Anonymous

    HOLY COW WHEN THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE USING SUNSCREEN THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE DROWNINGSUNSCREEN MAKES YOU DIEDONT USE SUNSCREEN OR YOULL DIE

  8. Anonymous

    HOLY COW WHEN THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE USING SUNSCREEN THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE DROWNING

    SUNSCREEN MAKES YOU DIE
    DONT USE SUNSCREEN OR YOULL DIE

  9. dave

    Societies wealthy enough to have readily available footwear are more likely to have well-developed mechanisms for medical diagnostics… correlation is not causation.

  10. dave

    Societies wealthy enough to have readily available footwear are more likely to have well-developed mechanisms for medical diagnostics… correlation is not causation.

  11. Zach

    Is this for real? Half of my clients are schizophrenics/have schizoaffective disorder, but this just seems bizarre.The first few lines, especially… “Heeled footwear began to be used more than a 1000 years ago, and led to the occurrence of the first cases of schizophrenia. Industrialization of shoe production increased schizophrenia prevalence.”Couldn’t one argue that other things about industrialization (like use of toxic chemicals, change in natural sleeping habits and work environments, crowded living situations, and reduced dependence on the family unit for survival) could have had an equal or greater effect than heeled shoes?

  12. Zach

    Is this for real? Half of my clients are schizophrenics/have schizoaffective disorder, but this just seems bizarre.
    The first few lines, especially… “Heeled footwear began to be used more than a 1000 years ago, and led to the occurrence of the first cases of schizophrenia. Industrialization of shoe production increased schizophrenia prevalence.”
    Couldn’t one argue that other things about industrialization (like use of toxic chemicals, change in natural sleeping habits and work environments, crowded living situations, and reduced dependence on the family unit for survival) could have had an equal or greater effect than heeled shoes?

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