Regional variations are observed in outcome of schizophrenia, but reasons remain unclear. Outcome of schizophrenia is reported to be better in India. In this report based on census data, we highlight substantially greater mortality observed among the mentally ill than among the general population during famines in India in the 19th century. A possible selection against the most severe forms of schizophrenia could account for greater occurrence of better-outcome phenotypes. Population histories and environmental influences, including epigenetics, need to be considered to further investigate differences between schizophrenia phenotypes
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