Stigma of mental illness in illness;5 without them, the gains made to-charge ratios and fragmentation
in the past 40 years in reducing child pattern. The detection of mescaline in
Japan and maternal mortality, increasing life two different samples, both analysed by
Sir—The World Psychiatric Association expectancy, and lowering the burden of two methods based on different
(WPA) has started an international infectious diseases will be offset by the principles, is reliable evidence for the
programme aiming to develop tools that growth of mental and behavioural presence of this psychotropic drug.
will make it easier to fight stigma and disorders. Freshly prepared peyote buttons can
discrimination because of schizophre- Policy makers are often constrained contain up to 8% of total alkaloids.
nia.1 Japan’s psychiatric society decided by competing demands for financial The previously studied 1000-year-old
to change the Japanese name of assistance dealing with mental health sample had a lower content, around
schizophrenia to help dispel prejudice issues. It is time international agencies 2·25%. In our analysis, alkaloid content
against people who have the illness. and national governments and had fallen to 2%, and mescaline was the
The Japanese Society of Psychiatry professional organisations invested in only peyote alkaloid we could identify.
and Neurology will announce the mental-health services as a significant There was no trace of any of the other
change of the name from seishi buntetsu part of their development strategies. tetrahydroisoquinoline alkaloids typical
byo (split-mind disorder) to togo shiccho *E B R Desapriya, Iwase Nobutada for peyote.
sho (loss of coordination disorder) at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Earlier, nicotine and caffeine had
World Congress of Psychiatry in Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8571, Japan been identified in plant remains from a
August, 2002, Yokohama, Japan. In medicine man’s tomb in Bolivia, aged
1993, the National Federation of 1 Sartorious N. Stigma: what can psychiatrists 1600 years.4 Morphine has been found
do about it? Lancet 1998; 352: 1058–59.
Families with Mentally Ill in Japan 2 Munakata T. Japanese health perception.
in a 3500 year old ceramic container
requested the psychiatric society to Jurist 1986; 44: 30–35. from Cyprus.5
change the name of the illness, which 3 Desapriya EBR, Nobutada I. Suicide in From a scientific perspective, the
was first adopted in 1937 on the basis of Japan: new trends. 6th World Conference on studied peyote material seems to be the
a translation of schizophrenie, the Injury Prevention and Control, Montreal, oldest plant drug that yielded a major
Canada, May, 2002.
German name for the illness, which 4 Murray CJL, Lopez AD. Alternative
bioactive compound on chemical
literally means split mind. projection of mortality and disability by analysis. From a cultural point of view,
In Japanese society, the social cause, 1990–2020: Global Burden of Disease our identification of mescaline
expectation is that supervision or caring study. Lancet 1997; 349: 1498–504. strengthens the evidence that Native
for people who have disorders 5 Editorial. Reducing the stigma of mental Americans already recognised and
illness. Lancet 2001; 357: 1055.
associated with loss of mental and valued the psychotropic properties of
behavioural self-control will be borne by peyote as long as 5700 years ago.
the patients or their families. Thus *Jan G Bruhn, Peter A G M De Smet,
mental illness is not viewed as
something that requires professional Mescaline use for 5700 Hesham R El-Seedi, Olof Beck
Institute for Bioactive Natural Products, Uppsala
treatment. years Science Park; *Division of Pharmacognosy,
The loss of mental self-control is Uppsala University, SE-751 83 Uppsala,
Sweden; Department of Clinical Pharmacy,
essentially seen as something over Sir—Archaeological investigations in University Medical Centre St Radboud,
which the person is unable to exercise northeast Mexico and Trans-Pecos, Nijmegen, Netherlands; Department of Clinical
will power.2 Japanese are socially Texas have shown that the use of Pharmacology, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm,
programmed to feel a sense of shame if psychotropic drugs in this region goes
they lack this will power. Although back to around 8500 BC. The 1 Adovasio JM, Fry GF. Prehistoric
treatments are available for many aboriginal inhabitants of this region psychotropic drug use in northeastern
mental-health disorders, almost two- used the mescal bean, Sophora Mexico and Trans-Pecos Texas. Econ Bot
1976; 30: 94–96.
thirds of sufferers never seek help from secundiflora, and buttons from the
2 Bruhn JG, Lindgren J-E, Holmstedt B,
a health professional. There is an urgent peyote cactus, Lophophora williamsii.1 Adovasio JM. Peyote alkaloids: identification
need in Japan to make ordinary people From an archaeological site in in a prehistoric specimen of Lophophora from
aware that some mental disorders can Coahuila, Mexico, several peyote Coahuila, Mexico. Science 1978; 199:
be prevented and most behavioural buttons were retrieved and radio- 1437–38.
3 Boyd CE, Dering JP. Medicinal and
disorders can be successfully treated, carbon-dated to AD 810–1070. hallucinogenic plants identified in the
and many patients with mental illness Alkaloid analysis revealed the presence sediments and pictographs of the Lower
can resume normal, fulfilling, and of mescaline and four related tetrahy- Pecos, Texas Archaic. Antiquity 1996; 70:
productive lives in society.3 droisoquinoline alkaloids.2 We have, 256–75.
Mental-health disorders are among however, analysed two much older 4 Bruhn JG, Holmstedt B, Lindgren J-E,
Wassén SH. The tobacco from Niño Korin:
the main causes of disease and disability samples of peyote buttons. These identification of nicotine in a Bolivian
in the world. Depressive disorders are samples are thought to have been found archaeological collection. Ethnogr Mus
now the fourth leading cause of the in Shumla Cave number five on the Rio Gothenburg Annu Rep 1976; 45–48.
global disease burden, and it is Grande, TX, USA, and are in the 5 Bisset NG, Bruhn JG, Zenk MH. The
presence of opium in a 3500 year old
estimated that they will rank second by collection of the Witte Museum in San Cypriote base-ring juglet. Egypt Levant 1996;
2020, behind only ischaemic heart Antonio.3 Radiocarbon dating showed a 6: 203–04.
diseases.4 WHO revealed that stigma, mean age of 5700 years.
discrimination, and neglect prevent care Standard alkaloid extraction pro-
and treatment from reaching people cedures done on the samples gave DEPARTMENT OF ERROR
affected with mental illness. The residues that were analysed by thin- Chronic fatigue syndrome: a step towards
tackling of stigma is an important first layer chromatography and gas chro- agreement—A typographical error in paragraph
step in reducing the public health matography-mass spectrometry. We 4 of this Commentary by Christopher Clark and
coauthors (Jan 12, p 97) may cause some
burden of mental illness. Proper were able to identify mescaline in both
confusion. Only four of the six dissenters were
policies are needed that urgently samples, based on identical retention clinicians, as described lower down the
address the underlying issues of mental times and Rf values, and similar mass- paragraph.
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