New study claims link between schizophrenia and epilepsy

A new study has claimed that people with schizophrenia are six times more likely to develop epilepsy.

Writing in ‘Epilepsia’, researchers in Taiwan say this could be due to genetic, neurobiological or environmental factors.

The study used data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance database and was led by researchers from the China Medical University Hospital in Taichung.

The study followed approximately 16,000 patients with epilepsy and schizophrenia between 1999 and 2008. They identified 5,195 patients with schizophrenia and 11,527 patients with epilepsy who were diagnosed during the nine year period.

These groups of patients were compared to groups of the same sex and age who did not have either epilepsy or schizophrenia. The findings showed that the 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.

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

“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.”

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