Infectious Madness with Harriet Washington

Is it possible that some people catch mental illness? In other words, could some significant subset of people with schizophrenia, bipolar, anorexia, OCD or depression have the cause of their mental illness traced back to an infectious disease—a virus, a bacteria or a parasite? Today’s guest Harriet Washington thinks so. A medical ethicist and writer, Harriet Washington is a Shearing fellow at the University of Nevada’s Black Mountain Institute, a former research fellow in medical ethics at Harvard Medical School and the author of “Medical Apartheid” which won the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award. She is here today on Healthwatch to talk about her latest book “Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We “Catch” Mental Illness.”

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