American psychiatry was preoccupied with schizophrenia in the decades following the second World War. Nathan Kline's published précis of Eugen Bleuler's great work, followed closely by Joseph Zinkin's full translation of it as Dementia Praecox, or the Group of Schizophrenias, stimulated interest, and most patients admitted to psychiatric hospitals (in the era before the spread of general hospital units) were so diagnosed. Kraepelin was a relatively forgotten man. The introduction of lithium and of effective antidepressants, and the findings of the joint British-American study of diagnosis, redirected attention to the affective disorders. Bleuler and his “schizophrenias” moved to the back burners of research and clinical interest. This shift of focus was reinforced by the growing awareness of the inadequacies of our research methods in investigating such a complex problem as schizophrenic illness.
New ways of looking at the brain (as distinct from the mind), such as the ever-expanding variety of imaging techniques (e.g., SPECT, PET, MRI, and CAT), increasing knowledge of the complexities of neurotransmission, and the development of criteria sets for DSM-III with accompanying structured interviews, drew the attention of investigators back to the problems of understanding the etiologies and pathologies of schizophrenia, this all too often crippling illness. Researchers and