Excerpts from The Madness of Adam and Eve by David Horrobin
The Madness of Adam and Eve - David Horrobin
Selected pages

"The basic argument of the book is that schizophrenia (and perhaps other functional psychoses) are caused by abnormalities in lipid chemistry, caused by a change in diet at the time that mankind made its final divergence from other great apes and hominids, and that the emergence of functional psychoses was related to increased creativity, if not in those affected with major psychoses, at least in their close relatives." - Dr. Lloyd Wells.

Review from The Guardian

"Do the shelves have room for one more bonkers theory about how apes became human? You know the story: for millions of years we were big-brained but dull-witted hominids. Then, about 100,000 years ago, our brains were touched as if by a burning finger and we lit up with self-consciousness and creativity. We immediately started painting caves and worshipping gods, and became rational. The question is: what could have caused this abrupt change?

Well, here is a suggestion to wet your socks: the first humans were schizophrenic. A small band of smart apes lived by a lakeshore in east Africa on a diet rich in fats, which allowed their brains to grow very large. Then a genetic defect in fat metabolism led to one child having faulty brain connections; the signalling became slightly variable. The result was a brain prone to schizophrenia, psychopathy and mania, but also creativity, curiosity and ambition. As David Horrobin imagines it, this child with "a divine discontent with the way things were" spawned a family of proto-Medicis, brilliant and ruthless, who slaughtered their neighbours and spread out to rule the world.

Then comes a second part to the story. The founding of civilisation resulted in another big change in diet, initially to farmed grains and later to the high animal-fat consumption of modern times. Thus those individuals with schizoid genes (who tended to form the ruling classes) were no longer getting the right fats, so their brain-wiring really did start to go wrong. No longer were they simply touched with a little creative madness, but they had to be locked up in asylums. And guess what? Simply taking fish-oil capsules might cure modern schizophrenia - and depression, criminality, dyslexia and much else besides..."

  1. Horrobin's obituary in The Lancet
  2. Horrobin's Obituary in The British Medical Journal
  3. Horrobin's obituary in The Telegraph
Horrobin was a controversial figure to those whose income relied on sustaining dogma and is death occurred at a time when doctors were just getting used to the internet and the discussion over his death by MD's in medical journals, reads at times like the comment section of youtube.

Page 297

Collected references.

Page 295

Assertion that schizophrenia is a whole body ailment as a defect in fat biochemistry the good and bad aspects thereof have had a major effect on mans intellectual and cultural evolution and civilization.

Page 339

Keyword index into the book.


Page 15
Look, Papa, painted bulls.

Introduction: Between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago we attained nearly modern form but mans intellectual evolution shifted radically between 150,000 and 60,000 years ago; prior to that, it was glacially slow. Early claims that primitive man painted these were ridiculed mercilessly, it was only much later that this was recognized universally as fact.

Photo: earliest known artwork, 77,000 years ago.

Oldest known jewellry, Denisovan man bracelet

Page 23
Is man an ape or an angel?

Differences in the fat and the biochemistry of fat differentiate is from other primates. Notes on the Lemba Jews of south Africa genome showing how the genetic makeup shows ancestral behavior: it can be shown this particular genome is made up of negroid and sephardic components.

Page 37
Bones, tools and genes.

Summary of human evolutionn from five million years ago to half a million years ago leading up to the development of fire and had axes

Page 64
How Adam and Eve got their brains.

Factors in the evolutionary rise in mankind:

  • The Home Base
  • Group size
  • Language
  • Mate-choice

Page 85
Brains, buttocks and breasts.

Early experiments with Prolactin - the lactating hormone which, in fish, regulates water and salt retention. Anti schizophrenic drugs stimulate prolactin levels; prolactin frees up fatty acids from cellular membranes. Albumen, the single most important constituent of blood plasma carries fatty acids in the circulatory system. Alipoproteins carry fats in the blood stream and not just fatty acids, but triglycerides to the eventual sites of their target locations as fat deposits. Important summary of fats and lipid chemistry: glycerol, cholesterol, phospholipds - their structure, behaviour and importance. Where they exist in the body and how they get there.

Page 105
Thinking the unthinkable.

The structure of the brain at a cellular level; how brain cells function; the biochemistry of thinking especially how it relates to, and limited by arachidonic acid; what happens with small errors in brain biochemistry occur The phospholipase 2 cycle.

Page 130
Mad, bad and dangerous to know.

Geographical distribution of schizophrenia - the only disease that has a perfectly even geographic distribution. Schizophrenia responds worse in affluent countries than in poor countries where saturated fat intake is higher. Signs of schizoidal behaviour and higher intelligence show up no more than 150,000 years ago, and since they show up in Australian aborigenes in the same rate as every other race this must have happened before Australia became disconnected from the Asian land mass 60,000 years ago. This suggests the genomal makeup of schizotypy evolved no more than 150 and no less than 60K years ago.

Page 156
I think for my part one half of the nation is mad and the other not very sound.

Implications for dyslexia and bipolar disorder.

Page 166
Our sad bad glad mad brother.

Evidence that family members of schizophrenic patients display signs of brilliance suggesting a common gene for genius and madness.

Page 187
After lifes fitful fever he sleeps well.

Shizophrenics don't tend to get arthritis. Arthritics tend not to get schizophrenia. Schizophrenics are unusually resistant to pain. Schizophrenics go into remission during a fever. Until the 1950s malaria was used as a cure for the insanity caused by syphilis 1927 Noble prize awarded for this, the only psychiatrist to ever win a Nobel). Inflammation and fever as they relate to phospholipid-AA production. Prolactin released during fever, freeing up AA. Could increased AA mitigate shizoid symptoms? Niacin was used as a cholesterol lowering agent, but causes a red skin flushing - but not in schizophrenics.

AA normally locked up in the Sn2 position of membrane phospholipids and released by prostoglandin cellular messaging agent. If sufficient AA not released by insufficient prsotolgandin, this would explain the lack of flushing; AA required by the body to produce a normal inflammatory response (steroids and NASIDs block the release of AA from phospholipids) - failure to release AA would explain why schizophrenics don't suffer from the inflammatory disease arthitis.

During a fever the body releases large amounts of AA - in schizophrenics who are deficient in AA the abnormal amount released brings the body up to a normal amount and the shizoid symptoms go away.

"Schizophrenia as a prostoglandin deficiency disorder" published in The Lancet, followed up by "Possible role of prostaglandin E1 in the affective disorders and in alcoholism." - papers were ignored as new ideas almost always are. Over the next 20 years other researchers independently discovered the role of phospholipase acting on AA in schizophrenia; development of niacin skin flush test as a diagnostic for schizophrenia.

Page 204
Only connect!

Formations of the mechanics and biochemistry of the phospholipid theory of schizophrenia and beginning of acceptance in the mainstream art at patient insistence.

Page 212
The ever-whirling wheel of Change, the which all mortal things doth sway.

Dietery shift and the increase of rate of change of intellectual evolution

Page 221
Whom God would destroy - or create He first sends mad.

Estimates of the timing of the origin of the shizotypic genetic mutations - this might have helped, the Toba event when a supervolcano erupted and wiped out all but between 1000 to 10,000 people creating a genetic bottleneck. The analysis of louse genes confirmed that the population of Homo sapiens mushroomed after a small band of early humans left Africa sometime between 150,000 and 50,000 years ago. ("Of Lice And Men: Parasite Genes Reveal Modern & Archaic Humans Made Contact". University of Utah) Recent research states that genetic diversity in the pathogenic bacterium Helicobacter pylori decreases with geographic distance from East Africa, the birthplace of modern humans. Using the genetic diversity data, the researchers have created simulations that indicate the bacteria seem to have spread from East Africa around 58,000 years ago. Their results indicate modern humans were already infected by H. pylori before their migrations out of Africa, and H. pylori remained associated with human hosts since that time. ("An African origin for the intimate association between humans and Helicobacter pylori". Nature 445 (7130): 9158. doi:10.1038/nature05562)

Page 232
His snug little farm the earth.

The shift in diet over the ages exacerbated the shizotypic mutation resulting in madness.

Page 239
Dark Satanic mills.

Notes on fat intake and rates worldwide in schizophrenia.

Page 251
Great wits are sure to madness near allied.

Calculations of the incidence of genetic mutations resposible for schizophrenia and allied syndromes: high intelligence, dyslexia, bipolar disorder.

Page 261
One should eat to live.

The problems with conventional anti-psychotic medications; treating shhizophrenia with fats; results of double blind clinical studies. Resistance to this new idea, just as resistance to the correct explanation of the cave paintings existed in the day.

Page 280

One possible explanation of the evolution of man as a function of diet.