Researchers Find Link Between Schizophrenia And Epilepsy
September 19, 2011

Researchers Find Link Between Schizophrenia And Epilepsy


A new study has found that people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia are six times more likely to develop epilepsy.

Researchers in Taiwan followed 16,000 patients with epilepsy and schizophrenia between 1999 and 2008.

The team identified 5,195 patients with schizophrenia and 11,527 patients with epilepsy who were all diagnosed during the nine year period.

The findings show that incidence of epilepsy was 6.99 per 1,000 person-years in the schizophrenia patient group, compared to 1.19 in the non-schizophrenia group.

The incidence of schizophrenia was 3.53 per 1,000 person-years for patients with epilepsy compared to 0.46 in the non-epilepsy group.

The team also found that schizophrenia levels were slightly higher in men with epilepsy than in women.

"Our research results show a strong bidirectional relation between schizophrenia and epilepsy," Dr I-Ching Chou, associate professor with the China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan, said in a press release.

"This relationship may be due to common pathogenesis in these diseases such as genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, but further investigation of the pathological mechanisms are needed."

There have been previous studies that have also suggested a strong link between psychosis among epilepsy patients.

Dr. Manny Bagary, a consultant neuropsychiatrist in Birmingham, said that the study was interesting, and epilepsy suffers should be aware of the connection.

"We have been aware that epilepsy sufferers seem to be have an increased risk of psychosis but this is the first convincing study to suggest that people with schizophrenia could also be at risk of developing epilepsy, suggesting a bidirectional relationship has been found between depression and epilepsy," Bagary told BBC News.

The study was published in the journal Nature Genetics.


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