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19-09-2011 | Mental health | Article

Schizophrenia and epilepsy linked ‘bidirectionally’


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MedWire News: Results from a Taiwanese study suggest that that schizophrenia patients have a significantly increased risk for epilepsy, while those with epilepsy have a significantly increased risk for schizophrenia.

Writing in the journal Epilepsia, I-Ching Chou (China Medical University, Taichung) and colleagues explain that previous studies have shown an increased prevalence of psychosis among patients with epilepsy, suggesting that there is a significant relationship between the two disorders.

To investigate further, the team used the Taiwan National Health Insurance database to identify 5195 patients with schizophrenia and 11,527 with epilepsy who were diagnosed between 1999 and 2008.

The researchers compared the incidence of epilepsy in the schizophrenia group and the incidence of schizophrenia in the group with epilepsy with the incidence of these conditions in 46,032 age-, and gender-matched controls.

They found that the incidence of epilepsy was significantly higher in patients with schizophrenia than controls, at 6.99 versus 1.19 per 1000 person-years, respectively.

And the incidence of schizophrenia was significantly higher in epilepsy patients than controls, at 3.53 versus 0.46 per 1000 person-years, respectively.

Indeed, patients with epilepsy were 7.65 times more likely to develop schizophrenia than controls, while schizophrenia patients were 5.88 times more likely to develop epilepsy than controls.

The incidence of schizophrenia was slightly higher in men than women with epilepsy, the researchers note.

"Our research results show a strong bidirectional relation between schizophrenia and epilepsy," concluded Chou.

"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."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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