April 19, 2007

Schizophrenia and Dry Cleaning?

A reader (who wants me to write an article on autism and paternal age-- I swear I'm getting to it) sent me a reference to a 2007 article finding an increased rate of schizophrenia in those born to parents who were dry cleaners (all Jewish, negating a racial association).  The authors speculate it's tetrachloroethylene exposure.

There were 4 cases of schizophrenia, out of 144 dry cleaning families.  What's interesting is that in 3 of the schizophrenia cases, the father was the dry cleaner. 

How does it happen? There are two possibilities: one is that tetrachloroethylene is neurotoxic in developing fetuses, so the dad must have somehow brought it home with him to the pregnant mom.  Or, it affects male sperm/ germ cells.

As for Cho, I don't know if his parents were dry cleaners in Korea, or if they started when they all came to the U.S.  But something worth investigating.

BTW: not that this would excuse him even if it were true. 

To Leslie, the reader: if you want credit, put in a comment and I'll put your contact info up here.) 


...or, what drives a person... (Below threshold)

April 19, 2007 2:49 PM | Posted by Matt Platte: | Reply

...or, what drives a person to enter the dry cleaning business in the first place?

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I read somewhere that his p... (Below threshold)

April 19, 2007 5:01 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I read somewhere that his parents (while living in So. Korea) owned a bookstore.

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Dear Alone,Thank y... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2007 12:49 AM | Posted by Leslie Feldman: | Reply

Dear Alone,

Thank you for being the only one to mention this study. It does seem that the gunman's parents were not dry cleaners in Korea, they owned a small bookshop.
It also is reported that Cho was always silent, cold and unresponsive. So the tetracloroethylene exposure only could have made his problems worse, but wouldn't be the primary cause of his neurological problems. Dow Chemical, by the way successfully fights attempts by air quality boards to replace PERC with safer cleaning processes. There are some weak phase out laws passed in California.

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