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Schizophrenia 'link' to epilepsy discovered

Schizophrenia and epilepsy are strongly linked, researchers have discovered.

Experts in Taiwan, who reported their findings in Epilepsia, say schizophrenia patients are six times more likely to develop epilepsy - a statistic they say could be down to genetic, neurobiological or environmental factors.

The researchers, based at the China Medical University Hospital in Taichung, followed the cases of 16,000 people who have the conditions over a nine-year period. They also used information contained on the Taiwan National Health Insurance database.

A total of 5,195 patients with schizophrenia and 11,527 with epilepsy were diagnosed during the period. These two groups were compared with people of the same age and gender who did not have either condition.

The experts found the incidence of epilepsy was 6.99 per 1,000 person-years in the schizophrenia group compared to 1.19 in the group of non-sufferers.

The incidence of schizophrenia was 3.53 per 1,000 person-years for those with epilepsy compared with 0.46 among the non-epilepsy participants.

Dr I-Ching Chou 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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